Ever came across an online survey that promised you a handsome prize? I did. And here’s what happened.
While I was going about my daily work on the Internet, I came across the below page.
As you can see, I received a congratulatory message for being a loyal Google user and that my computer’s IP address has been selected for a free Apple iPhone X. I thought this should be my lucky day! I decided to press on and check how lucky I am. After clicking on one of the blue tabs above, I was asked two more questions about my experience on Google. I answered them with an uncontrolled excitement of grabbing an iPhone, and landed here:
And there I was – just a step away from claiming my free iPhone X for just $1. “How great is that?!”, I thought. So, without wasting a second, I clicked on Claim Now and reached here:
‘Ok, this should be the very last step’, I said to myself. I filled up the form and clicked on Next. This took me to the billing page.
And this is where I stopped and closed the window. Why? Because I knew better and asked myself these basic questions before falling for this shoddy trick:
1. Does it seem logical or reasonable that someone is randomly giving away an iPhone X (that actually costs a fortune) for free or $1?
Answer – No
2. Why would anyone do that?
Answer – Not sure.
3. Was I part of a genuine contest ran by the device manufacturer or any trusted organization?
Answer – No
4. Did I read about this contest/survey/offer on a genuine website?
Answer – No
What would have happened if I had given my credit card details here?
In India, credit card transactions are OTP (One Time Password) protected. Which means, even if somebody has your credit card details, they won’t be able to steal your money without the OTP. International online transactions, however, are not OTP protected. So, if this whole thing is a scam (which definitely looks like it is) and if I had given my credit card information (card no., name, CVV, and expiry date), it would have gone straight to a scammer who could have made several illegal transactions under my name even before I could sense that something was wrong.
The lesson to be learned here
• Online offers that look way too amazing and unbelievable should be treated with caution. Ask yourselves the same questions I asked.
• Always verify such offers/promotions with the official vendor/manufacturer.
• Never click on links or tabs in pages that pop up while you are browsing the Internet. Doing so might install a malware on your computer or take you to an infected page.
• Do not click on links or download attachments received from unknown or unexpected emails – especially if they talk about money or an offer and urge you to take an action immediately.
• Protect your computer with an antivirus that offers layers of protection – blocks infected and fake websites, prevents unwanted downloads and blocks malware.
So, when it comes to tempting deals/offers on the Internet, do not let your excitement cloud your logic. Pause and think before you click. Stay safe!