CHOICE membership

It looks like a Woolworths survey with chance to win $500 gift card

This email looks like it comes from Woolworths.
Click the link, answer three questions, fill in your name and phone number, then the fun begins…

I entered a fake phone number to see what happens next–I assumed at this pont that the survey was from Woolworths, and I didn’t want them using my phone number for spam.

On the next page I’m told to wait for my PIN number which will be sent by phone.
Then phone a 19 number to do the real survey, using the PIN. Ha!

And here is the fine print on the bottom of the page:
"Call cost $3.96/min incl GST may be higher from mobile/pay phones.
Service provided by PCIM​. ​To participate in this service, please fill
in your phone number on the website. Once you have filled in your phone
number, you should call the premium number to get your PIN code. You
should fill in the PIN code on this page to activate the service. Listen
to the questions and fill in the correct answer with the 1 or 2 digits
on your phone. The player collects 100 points by answering the questions
correctly. The player with the most points scored in a single call
session wins the prize. Maximum call time is 30 minutes. Within that
time , you need to answer as many questions as possible correctly. You
can stop the service at any time by disconnecting the (phone)
connection. After the promotional period ends, the participant with the
most points scored in a single call session will receive the prize. In
the case of participants having an even number of points, a final
question will be presented. The customer with the highest accuracy
answer wins. The winner will be announced at www. quiz-winners.com at the end of the promotion period (30 September 2016 at 23.59).​ "

Your chance to enter the competition could cost $28 (30 minutes), plus your own call costs.
And even though photos of previous winners are shown, there is only a single winner for the period (presumably one month).
And they get your phone number.

It even looks legal, given the fine print. But is it?
http: //woolworths.com-download.space/surveys/AU/woo/2.1-360/
At the very least it should be misrepresentation?

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Glad you picked up on this nefarious behaviour before it cost you any money, Jen. We’ll report it in to the ACCC.

Thanks for sharing.

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These scams are readily identifiable by the URL. Notice the URL is not Woolworths.com.au, it is Woolworths.com -download.space. There are lots of these going around. Looking for a double URL like this to determine if it is bogus or legit is a good start.

The way web sites are addressed, **xxx.**woolworths.com.au is a server at Woolworths.com.au, but **xxx-**woolworths.com.au could be anything. The rules of domain names can be complex for the non-technically inclined, but a dot is used for routing, and other characters are just characters. https://www.crazydomains.com.au/domain-names/rules/ is a good overview of some of it.

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Sometimes surveys are run by secondary companies and are still legit.

But the url for this one is clearly pretending to be Woolworths, as you say @pdtbaum
I was in autopilot and didn’t even look at it until I realised from the content that it was a scam.

As you wrote, sometime there is a 3rd party survey company but they will have their legitimate web URL, like surveycompany.com not companyname-surveycompany.com. Those pesky “-” in a URL after what looks like a legit company name is always a red flag. They would usually show something looking more like surverycompany.com/companyname or surveycompany.com/Avxbdu67e6f909 where the character string is an identifier back to you and your invitation. Some scams use
companyname-surveycompanyname.com/Avxbdu67e6f909 to make it look more authentic.

Bottom line is scammers are clever and devious.

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My mistake–you could spend more than $100 on a 30 minute call. And it would just go on your phone bill.

1 Like

Hullo Jen,

I got caught for a longer period last year and had to pay my ISP about $120+

The question I am interested in - and any solutions! - is how did the advertisement appear on your device in the first place?

I find that I am receiving lots of such messages from Australian firms who are using a US data base that sells Australian addresses and is beyond jurisdictional reach.

What appears at the base of the message is a link to unsubscribe.

When I click the link it may unsubscribe me from that particular advertisement but not the other 50 or so that keep on imploding on my screen!

I automatically send them to junk but even this is time I don’t want to spend on unsolicited advertising from Australian firms who buy a database that has my email address on it without my consent.

Cheers

5 Likes

I’m really sorry to hear that @peter.donnan . Expensive!

The email address mine came to was an old one that gets a lot of spam–most of it is filtered out (with rules I’ve created), but this one got through. I think that address got onto a US-based list a couple of years ago. I’m not sure how they can tell it’s in Oz though as it’s a .com address (and gets mostly US related spam).
I’m wary of the unsubscribe links. Sometimes I think spammers use it to confirm that the email address is still alive and valid!

I’m much more careful with my new email address and it doesn’t get any spam (not so far at least). I’ve been using it for about a year.

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Hi Jen

I tend to agree with your view that “Sometimes I think spammers use it[unsubscribe address] to confirm that the email address is still alive.” I have set up email rules that send such messages to junk and now I just generally delete them.

I am still interested in any strategies that might eliminate my name from the databases that are sold to Australian firms.

‘Choice’ might have some ideas. A name and shame campaign directed at all companies that buy these databases from US companies (generally) sounds good to me but there would be insufficient interest and commitment to it.

Cheers
Peter

2 Likes

I fell for a similar one, offering a $50 voucher for Woolworths for completing a survey.

I completed the survey, which included a note that by signing it I allowed other companies to offer me “bargains”.

Of course I never received the voucher, but received a huge amount of “offers” of goods or services which were sent to me filling my in tray for weeks. It took days of “unsubscribe” to stop them coming. Just spam so they could sell the list of email addresses.
Michael

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That’s very interesting i just had a post for Coles 500gift card. I didn’t like the look of it and ignored it. Although i wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not the same people.

I’m constantly getting bogus offers like this. I’ve tried unsubscribing but don’t seem to have been lucky as yet. I’ve finally started marking their domains as as spam. We’ll see if this works.

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Same thing happened to me. Trouble is I have now received two accounts for my apple order. I have ignored it so far and interested to see what happens next. Isn’t this deceptive advertising? If I did the same thing I am sure I would be in big trouble.

It isn’t only Woolworths. My spam box is full of similar offers from Coles and Bunnings, often several at a time. I never open them - looks very dodgy.

Beware of a scam Telstra email. The email has been coming around several times in the last year. It came again a couple of weeks ago. At first glance it looks genuine, bearing an almost genuine-looking sender’s address (Telstra BigPond telstramail@online.telstra.com). The only clue is BigPond instead of the usual Bigpond. It states: “we request confirmation and update of your billing information” “Dear BigPond User, Telstra Bigpond is informing you that our services to you could be suspended. This might be due to one of the following reasons: 1. You have changed your billing address. 2. You have submitted incorrect information during the payment process of your bill. 3. Your credit/debit card has expired. 4. You have not updated your BigPond profile. To ensure that your service will not be interrupted, we request confirmation and update of your billing information now by clicking the following link…”
The link provided actually leads to http://scuolaguidamoderna.it/media, obviously not Telstra. Because of the frequent Telstra or Bigpond network outages experienced by users in the past months, it is easy to be fooled into taking them to have happened due to service suspension.

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As a rule, never put personal details or log into a website that you reached from a link in an email. The world is full of scammers masquerading as legitimate companies in the hope that they can hoover up your login details and rip you off. URLs can be misleading and there are ways to hide them so it looks like the proper URL in the email but is subtly different when you get there.

Especially if it’s your bank or email password, always type in the URL yourself instead.

Very often there is something slightly off in the counterfeit websites, but they’re getting better. For example I recently saw a fake Apple website that looked very slick - high-res photos, proper logos, smooth animation. The scammers were actually iPhone thieves. A locked stolen iPhone is useless - there’s no way for the thieves to wipe it and sell it on without the password. So they were getting the emergency contact info off the phones (you can get this without unlocking it – it’s meant for the ambos). Then texting the dodgy link to that number. People see a webpage supposedly from Apple saying “put in your Apple ID and password so we can tell you where your phone is”. I’m sure the scammers unlocked a lot of phones this way.

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These scams are all based on the idea that you can get something for nothing. As Malcolm Fraser famously said “There is no such thing as a free lunch”.
Also, if you right-click on the link provided you can see where your reply is really going to.
JohnN

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Why cannot Telstra Bigpond filter out these bogus Telstra Bigpond emails that are being sent over Telstra Bigpond? Maybe Choice could put this question to Telstra Bigpond. Surely it is in its own interest as much as its Telstra Bigpond customers.

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I fell for this one, too, and I’m STILL unsubscribing and blocking crap after about 3 months! Kicking myself every time I get one for being so stupid.

Kristy

There are more to come from source. Woolies,Coles, IGA, Aldi for starters then win a ford, Mazda, and some on through car range and its all the same scam. maybe a winner but they are racking up millions if we play their game. As I dont fill in surveys, or comps on line where they get your ph email whatever - my being on the list can only have come from what I thought were bono fide business. Like on line chemist or groceries etc who all swear not to sell you on. These days with Big Pond we are getting heaps when one time they were screened out, something they too could see too. Didnt take notice of me. And it is a lot of money for some who may just think its genuine to lose. So good if Choice do report it - I have forwarded on dozens to both FBI and our own report sites.