Don’t get fleeced by the imitation Woolies survey!

The ACCC is warning shoppers to watch out for a fake Woolworths customer satisfaction survey that asks for bank account details in exchange for a $150 gift voucher. There has been a surge in reports to the ACCC with 140 complaints received since the scam resurfaced at the start of September.

Scammers are sending this survey out of the blue – usually via social media or email – and asking you to complete questions before you can claim the voucher. They may also ask for banking details to complete the survey. If you are duped, you will find that the vouchers are fakes and retailers won’t honour them.

“Scammers impersonate well-known businesses to get their hands on your personal details. Once you have unknowingly sent your details to a scammer, they can steal your money – and possibly even your identity,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Last year, victims of this survey scam reported money stolen from their credit card with losses up to $1,000. Others were unwillingly subscribed to premium SMS services, which cost money for every SMS received.

One victim reported that as she was checking her Facebook page, she noticed a friend had ‘liked’ a link to a Woolworths survey, which offered a $150 voucher for a five minute survey. She completed the questions and filled in personal details at the end. Although the voucher was received through her email address, at the checkout it was revealed as a fake. When the victim went home she was shocked to discover unauthorised transactions on her credit card.

“Vouchers for surveys are a legitimate marketing tool often used by retailers, which is why it is easy to get caught out. If you see one of these surveys, call the business’ official customer service line before starting it. Don’t rely on the links or numbers provided on the offer as this can link to a fake website or even a fake call centre,” Ms Rickard said.

“Don’t trust the legitimacy of a survey linked from social networking sites, even if they are recommended by people you know. Alarm bells should ring if you are asked to provide bank account or credit-card details. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your financial institution immediately.”

If you ever suspect that you have been offered to take part in a scam, you can report your concerns to the ACCC’s Scamwatch site.