Police say ‘Wal-Mart’ e-mail poll fraudulent

Posted March 03, 2009, at 10:06 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City police are warning the public not to fall for an e-mail scam purporting to be from Wal-Mart.

The e-mail, which published reports show has been circulating elsewhere in the nation since at least last October, promises the recipient $150 for completing an online customer satisfaction survey.

The e-mail states, “You have been chosen by Walmart to take part in our Customer Satisfaction Survey. If you decide to complete this survey, Walmart will send $150 to your confirmed Credit or Debit Card account just for your time.”

While that sounds pretty good, the e-mail goes on to say that in order to receive the money, the person completing the survey must submit his credit or debit card number, expiration date and personal identification number, or PIN.

In a news release issued to area media outlets Tuesday, Deputy Police Chief Peter Arno called the e-mail survey “an obvious scam. If you go to the site on the attachment it will take you to a survey. As part of this you are asked to enter bank account and PIN information, obviously so they can extract money, not deposit it.”

The Wal-Mart survey scam, one of the latest to hit Greater Bangor, was brought to the attention of Bangor police by the Rev. Bob Carlson, who is well-known in law enforcement circles for his work as a chaplain.

In a brief telephone interview Tuesday, Carlson said the survey request looked innocent enough — until it asked for his PIN.

“And I said, really?” Carlson then fired off the following response: “You are scammers. Have a nice day. And I hit the send button,” he said, adding that the reply address turned out to be undeliverable.

Carlson said he decided to alert city police out of concern someone might get reeled in by the ruse. “How many seniors, especially in this economic climate, might fall for this?” he said.

“People who shop online often are asked for their credit card information and expiration dates, but they never ask for a PIN number,” Carlson said, adding that similar information is requested of those who use credit cards to order merchandise by telephone.

In that case, he said, “You’re making the call, so you know who you’re calling.”

dgagnon@bangordailynews.net

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