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Phony Online Survey Warning

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016

December 13, 2016 UPDATE - Today a customer let us know that the phony survey described in the story below is popping up again. This is a credit card fraud scheme. Don't be fooled. This story appeared in our May 2016 OnLine newsletter.

A CFU customer recently told us about his narrow escape from losing a lot of money in an internet fraud scheme. The scammers falsely used CFU’s name to lure the customer into giving up a credit card number. We’re sharing this story to help others avoid similar scams.

Here’s what happened. While Rick (not his real name) was online, several pop-up messages invited him to take a survey about "The Municipal Communications Utility of the City of Cedar Falls." The messages appeared to be from various websites, and promised a valuable reward for those who completed the survey.

One day Rick completed the survey. At the end, he selected his reward merchandise. Then he was asked to enter a credit card number to pay shipping costs, and he did so.

Later Rick’s credit card was charged for an item he did not order. That’s when he found out the fine print of the "reward" offer said he agreed to join a buying club and authorized charges to his credit card for automatic future shipments.

After a lot of time, trouble and research, Rick cancelled his credit card to prevent future charges.

Rick’s story shows that even a careful, experienced internet user can be fooled by scams that hide behind a familiar name.

In hindsight, several clues marked the pop-up messages as fishy. Above all, keep in mind that CFU and vendors we hire will never ask customers for a credit card number or other sensitive information through a website or by email.

We thank Rick for sharing his experience to help others avoid scams.