THUMBS DOWN: Don't Trust an Online Company Logo

Physician's Money Digest, July 2006, Volume 13, Issue 7

Business-

Week

One of the latest Internet scams tocome down the pike is "brand spam," which is essentially using a wellknowncompany logo (eg, Home Depot,Starbucks, etc) to lure naïve Websurfers into giving up their personalinformation. According to , the scammers send out e-mailsthat propose such wonders as a $500Home Depot gift card if you fill out asimple survey on their Web site. Ofcourse, the site is entirely bogus, andby entering your personal data toobtain your free gift card (which theypromise will be mailed to you—don'thold your breath), the scammers havewhat they need to sell your informationto other spammers. Many of thesephony offers have user agreementsthat coerce you into signing up otherpeople for the promo, which just addsto the cycle of swindle. Most of thecompanies that are having their familiarlogos used, such as Wal-Mart, warnconsumers that they never offer suchgiveaways over the Internet. So if youever see an offer for $100 in free coffeeat Starbucks in your e-mail inbox,just do yourself a favor and delete themessage immediately.