How to spot a Facebook survey scam

Facebook users are being confronted with an ongoing threat to their security and privacy via the proliferation of Facebook survey scams.

Survey scams attempt to trick users into submitting their personal information to unscrupulous online marketers.  Here’s how a typical survey scam operates:

  • A message appears on Facebook that claims that users can receive a valuable prize just by clicking a link. The supposed prize may be for shopping vouchers or gift cards, high-end fashion items, or high tech devices such as mobile phones or tablet computers.  The scam messages have no connection with the brands they claim to represent, but often use graphics or trademarks stolen from the brand’s website.
  • Users who click the link will first be taken to a Facebook page promoting the supposed giveaway. They are told they must first “like” the promotions page and then share a message about it via their own Facebook Wall. By following these instructions, victims are in effect spamming the same fake offers to their Facebook friends.
  • Next, users are taken to a third party website where they are told they must validate their prize claim by participating in one or more “surveys”. As they proceed, users will be confronted with more and more bogus “survey” pages, all supposedly offering further rewards for participating.

However, no matter how many surveys they complete, users will never receive the prize promised in the original message or any other rewards.

Keep your personal info personal!

Some of the bogus survey pages ask users to provide personal information including name, address and contact details. Others will claim that users must provide their mobile phone number in order to proceed with the prize claim. By supplying their mobile number, users are actually subscribing to absurdly expensive text messaging services billed at several dollars per message.

The people who operate these scam promotions will earn commissions via suspect affiliate marketing schemes each and every time a victim participates in a survey.

Victims tricked into participating may be faced with large phone bills for unwanted mobile phone services and, because they have provided name and contact details, they may be inundated with unwanted promotional emails, phone calls and junk mail.

Know how to spot the real deal:

Of course, many organizations regularly run perfectly legitimate competitions and prize giveaways.  But, there are major differences between a genuine promotion and a Facebook survey scam:

  • Genuine promotions do not claim that EVERY participant will receive a major prize just by clicking a link.
  • Genuine promotions do not force people to spam their friends as a prerequisite for participation.
  • Genuine promotions do not force users to “validate” their prize claim by visiting other websites and participating in surveys.
  • Genuine promotions will always include detailed conditions of entry that outline the start and finish dates of the promotion and other important information.

Better to be safe than sorry

If one of these survey scam posts appears on your Wall, simply delete it. Do not click on any links in the message. If you do click a link, do not carry out any of the instructions listed on the bogus promotional page.

For more advice on staying safe online, check out iiNet’s Online Safety Series fact sheets and stay tuned for more advice from ‘Hoax-Slayer’ Brett Christensen.



  1. glenn norton says:

    Yes i think i hav been scam by facebook lottery i a online cordinator name tamara got intouch with me about winning money in lottery gave me these lucky numbers said i had to email david alfredo didbursement department then i had to email carloss sergio head dipatcher fedex corporation he email me said i had to pay 800 dollars to david mears facebook payment officer australia i paid money into his account the package was to go flight from usa to australia then i get email from crliss sergio that package got stopped in malaysia by clearing officials he said i had to pay 2200 to rhonda harrison payment officer in bukit now the woman on face book tamara keeps contacting me to pay money i wil not pay iam on old age pension as it is i think i hav lost 800 they do mot hav my baking details but i got a txt from national australia bank my account has been blocked i rang bank and told th i dont even hav account with there bank and they said to me it is a scam so is it i like to no

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi Glenn,

      Yes, sadly this is a scam and we do strongly encourage you to report this to the relevant authorities. Remember, if you’re being asked to pay money for something, its a scam!

      – Leo