The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning online shoppers to watch out for a fake 'Woolworths customer satisfaction survey' that asks for bank account details in exchange for a $150 gift voucher. A press release issued by ACCC said there has been surge in reports with 140 complaints received since the scam resurfaced at the start of September.
Meanwhile Woolworths, the company in whose name the scam is circulating, asked online users in a separate press release to "watch out for some Facebook & email scams using our name & logo titled 'Get a Free $400, $150 or $100 Woolworths voucher' or 'Customer Satisfaction Survey.'"
'Phishing' scams imitate well-known brands to try to collect your personal information. We have reported this scam to the ACCC's SCAM Watch, and you can find their advice about phishing scams and how to avoid them," the company's statement said.
The company said it would never ask customers for their personal or banking details in unsolicited communications.
The release from the company said that all its official contests and competitions run from its Facebook Page at facebook.com/woolworths, are posted on the 'Promotions & Competitions' page of the company Web site.
The company asked online users to fight these scams and protect other consumers by reporting it to the ACCC
The ACCC press release said scammers are sending this survey out of the blue - usually via social media or email - and asking online users to complete questions before they can claim the voucher. They 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," the release said.
"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.
The ACCC said that in 2012, 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.
"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," 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," she said.