Lately, the Web has been flooded with emails purporting to be a part of a “2015 Annual Visitor Survey”. Gullible users are being tricked into participating in the scam study and, as a result, are being served targeted advertisements.
The scam message is allegedly sent to collect Google Chrome user statistics. In exchange for their data, users are given the chance win a software product.
Naturally, the entire scheme aims to promote products and services and generate profit for the scam’s authors.
The Scam’s Giveaway
The spam email message reported by Online Threat Alerts contains one question only – How often does the participant use Google Chrome. Previous versions of the scam were advertised as a four-questions-survey.
The swindle is not hard to expose. There is a disclaimer at the end of the message that clearly states that the survey is an advertisement. Any affiliation of Google or other browser producers is denied.
The disclaimer also reveals that the web page received compensations for the purchase of the featured products and services.
Although the disclaimer clearly shows that the whole operation serves marketing purposes, many users still fall for it.
Relying on such methods is not seen as a malicious activity, yet a scheme like this may pose a variety of safety risks to the user’s system. Keep in mind that some of the advertised products and services may serve malicious purposes.
A variety of potentially unwanted programs (PUP) are presented to the PC user in this manner. Most of them result in the unintentional installation of further, possibly unverified software.