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Beware online surveys and "free" gifts

Posted 3 April 2015 12:00 AM by Cindy Earehart Rinker

April Fools' Day has passed, but cyber jokers are still up to their old tricks.

Recently, Shentel Internet customers have received a survey asking them to comment on Shentel services in order to receive some FABULOUS prizes.

When the customer takes the survey several things can happen. Nothing.  At least on the surface. You might receive a request for money in order to be shipped some great and wonderful prizes. Or it may throw pop-up ads at you every time your cursor rolls over certain words.

Before I go any further, let me say that Shentel will never send you a survey that will pop up on your screen from your browser. We are sending some in-browser messaging that concerns data usage, but we are not doing pop-up surveys. We have, on occasion, sent emails asking for your opinion, but this will come to your email address and it will have Shentel identification and trademarks.

We also urge you never to click on something from someone you do not know. The fine print on this survey noted that it was not generated by Shentel, but we had customers take the survey thinking that they were connecting with us and then got mad at us for asking for money for a free prize.

To prevent problems, remember these three rules.

No. 1 – Always read the fine print. Enough said.

No. 2 – If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Always weigh the possibility of an infected computer or someone stealing your confidential information against how bad you really want that free salad spinner.

No. 3 – If it sounds too good to be true, it is. I just thought I should write this twice because people like to second guess good decisions because, darn it, they really want something for nothing. Don’t do it!

As you move around online this spring, use caution in your travels.

Cindy Rinker is a marketing supervisor at Shentel and is often tempted by free salad shooters. They are just so cool!