Beware this stupid celll phone survey scam grrr

Ugh, I can’t believe I fell for this BS. Luckily the worst thing that happened was that the scam part of the transaction was declined by my bank and I’ve got a new credit card on the way.

Here’s what happened:

Almost two weeks ago I get a text asking me to take a survey about my T-Mobile service, and offering me a reward for it. I do the dumb survey which probably went straight into the bitbucket, and go on to the reward. I should have figured out it was a scam when they said pick the product and “just pay for shipping” I picked one of those LED headlamps with the straps and authorize a $5.99 charge for the “free” product.

Well, the headlamp actually shows up in the mail a few days later so I think hey, it’s legit, but the packing slip lists “Tactical headlamp trial” which struck me as odd but I didn’t think anything more of it. Suddenly I get fraud alert email from Chase late Saturday asking, hey did you authorize this $49.99 transaction (buying luggage in Utah)? and you know the rest. New cc number and card blah blah blah.

I feel like a bozo. At least I didn’t send any money to a Nigerian Prince or anything.

One thing I don’t get: since it’s a scam, why do they bother sending a product at all?

Yikes! Thanks for letting us know. Will watch out for that.

How is the overall quality of the headlamp? :)

It was good at buying luggage in a different state.

Well, it seems all right for what I paid for it maybe even a little more, heh. It works. I have a big head --I like to say it’s to fit all my brains, which is now clearly in dispute --so the straps set at maximum length do fit it.

The weird part is that it has no branding at all-- it just has Tactical Headlamp written on the box, and there’s an Oregon address on it. The merchant on the cc statement for the charge I did authorize (and for the one I didn’t) is One thing, once I’d picked what I wanted and was trying to finalize the order, the site tried at least 4 or 5 times to sell me something else (and no doubt charge shipping for those things) and I had to keep telling it no thanks. That should have tipped me off too.

Now I have to hope that interacting with the site didn’t mess up my phone or something. Luckily it’s a Pixel 3a XL so the security updates to the OS are pretty up to date. Going to do a Malwarebytes scan too.

The number of people who don’t comb through their statements regularly and just pay it off or pay the minimums is high enough that it’s worth it. Sending the tchotchke you signed up for mentally closes out the transaction and raises less flags that sending nothing.

I guess that must be it. Really annoying. Good thing the bank caught it, I guess.

It’s pretty clear this unauthorized charge was as a result of doing this recent survey and “paying for shipping” of the whatsit, but now that I think of it, maybe a year ago sometime I spotted this little one or two dollar charge* on the same account and called about it, and didn’t recognize where it came from at all. I told customer service about it at the time and would have thought that they’d have immediately said we need to issue you a new card/number, but they didn’t. It’s moot now, of course, but still. Isn’t it standard practice to do that with unauthorized charges of any kind?

*out of curiosity I went onto the bank’s website to look through old statements and now I can’t find that charge anywhere. Either it was much longer ago than I thought or the statements are not meant to be exactly what was sent to one back then.

That looks more like a credit card scam than malware but I guess some scammer might try both.

I got a text yesterday to click a link to ‘claim my customer appreciation gift from T-Nobile’. I deleted it. Guess I missed my chance at a badass tactical headlamp! Dammit!

I, too, have missed my chance.

Certain merchants like hotels will charge your credit card a dollar as a pre-authorization. Then when they charge the full amount they remove the $1 charge, so it makes sense you don’t see it any more.

Hmm, I suppose that could have been it (if that situation applied to me*), but on the statement it wasn’t labeled in any recognizable way as I recall.

Plus, I didn’t do any kind of traveling using that card. I did travel for work in early June last year but all related charges were on a company Visa.