Watch Out For Pop-Up Survey Scams!


We’ve recently gotten some reports of a pop-up claiming to offer free gifts or prizes on Socket’s behalf. These are 100% scams, and are not tied to Socket in any way.
Unfortunately, these types of scams are relatively common, and not limited to using just Socket’s name to elicit trust. Here’s some ways to spot this scam and similar ones:

A screenshot of a scam claiming to be giving away prize money
Don't click it! This scammer is just using a template with fill-in-the-blank spaces.
This ad is NOT from Socket.

How it works:

Most people are aware that pop-up ads can be suspicious. So scammers attempt to make their ads look legitimate by adding in some personalized information – either related to a site you’ve recently visited, or information that can be gathered through your IP address. This info includes general geographic information (like your city or zip code), as well as your Internet service provider.
However, these ads can’t get too detailed – they still have to be generic enough to apply to everyone the scammer might want to target. So all this personalized information will be fill-in-the-blank. If a pop-up is claiming to be from a company you trust, but doesn’t include any logos or information other than a fill-in-the-blank company name, it’s probably a scam.

Other warning signs:

Not all survey scams will look exactly like this one. But there are a few things many of them share in common:

  • “Too good to be true”: Getting a free iPhone in exchange for a five minute survey is an incredible deal – one that should make you suspicious. Always be cautious of sites that offer any sort of prize. If they really had that sort of money, their ad would probably look a little more professional.

  • Missing Info: Is there an "About Us" page, or a physical address where you could find this company? Look for some sort of proof that the company actually exists, and isn't just a single webpage that could disappear overnight.

  • Generic: Rather than try for personalized information, some scammers will use “details” that actually apply to nearly everyone. For instance, scammers love mentioning your recent visit to Walmart.

  • Payment Required: Never, ever, ever enter in your credit card number or banking information. You should never have to give someone money in order to receive a prize. (No, not even for shipping and handling.)

Finally, if in doubt, call the company in question from a verifiable phone number. A few minutes could save you an identity theft headache.
Curious about some other tricks we've seen spammers try to use? Check out our previous post on phishers.