Before you respond to that customer satisfaction survey e-mail from your bank, credit card company or other familiar business, consider this: It might be a scam. The Better Business Bureau warns that scammers are now trying to get consumers to part with their personal information by posing as financial institutions and other businesses interested in getting feedback from clients.
Here's how the scam works: You get an e-mail or text message asking you to fill out a customer satisfaction survey. It looks legitimate because the company's logo is on the survey, and the questions pertain to the company's products or services. One fake Bank of America survey that is circulating actually states that customers will get a $200 credit to their account for filling out the survey. And, hey, who would pass up an extra $200?
But after answering typical customer satisfaction questions, you'll be asked to provide detailed personal information -- such as your credit card, checking account and Social Security numbers. This is when the red flag should go up.
Legitimate businesses won't ask for this sort of information on a survey, according to BBB. And if an e-mail prompts you to click on a link or download a file to take a survey, it likely will take you to a fraudulent site or install malware on your computer. To determine whether a link will actually take you to a legitimate company's site, use your mouse to hover over it to see the true url appear in your browser or bottom corner of your screen.
Scam e-mails often are poorly written, too, and address you as "Dear customer" rather than by name. If the e-mail asks you to call a phone number to participate in a survey, don't call the number provided. Instead, dial the company's customer service number. You can find that number on an old account statement or on a company's official Web site. If the survey is legit, a customer service agent can transfer you.