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Don't Fall for the iPad Tester Scam

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 17 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Ipad Tester Scam Apple Mobile Phone

When it comes to scams, there is one adage that rings true again and again. It’s plain, it’s simple, and it’s right on the mark. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Ignoring it will make you prey to fraudsters who are out to get you – or at least, your bank details, your passport information and even your credit cards and PIN number.

Nowhere is this more easily exemplified than when it comes to the iPad tester scam, which sounds like such an obvious scam it’s hard to believe that anyone could ever fall for it.

But the sad thing is that people do fall for it, again and again, and as a result they are becoming prey to identity theft fraudsters who get hold of your mobile phone details, then take it from there…

How it Works

You receive a Facebook message from a close friend, addressed to you personally. “Hey Joseph,” it might read. “Three days ago I signed up as an Apple iPad tester, and today I got my iPad. All you need to do is tell them your opinion about it, and it’s yours to keep. Better sign up free as they’re gonna go fast!”

Because the message purportedly comes from a friend you know, you believe it. You click onto the page, and are asked to start by taking a survey that ostensibly exists to prove that you’re a real, living, breathing human being.

After answering a host of random questions, you are then asked to fill in your name, address, date of birth and mobile phone number before the iPad is shipped to you.Sadly, instead of getting a free iPad, you have been signed up for a costly premium rate mobile phone service, which will continue charging you money until you opt out.

Other iPad Scams

Other scams are eerily similar, except the fraudsters don’t rely on people you know to lure you into their clutches. Instead, they post an ad on Facebook or Twitter, asking for iPad testers. The ads look real, as they have copied all of Apple’s logos, replicated their font etc.

They might even send you a direct email, very professional looking, announcing that you have been “personally” chosen to test out iPads. All you need to do to try one out and keep it is fill in this little survey, to ascertain that you’re human.

Similarly, another scam perpetrated by identity theft fraudsters will say that you have “won” an iPad due to the fact that you recently sold something on ebay or Craigslist. Again, in order to get the goods all you need to do is fill out a survey.

Protecting Yourself

Facebook is now banning such iPad tester “ads”, but they are appearing in different guises all over the Internet, so buyer beware. If you get any email that looks like a scam, do not click on it and delete it permanently from your computer immediately.

Keep in mind that giving away any type of personal information to an individual or company that you don’t know can leave you vulnerable to identity theft and fraud, and give criminals access to your bank account information.

Even if you end up not losing any money, the time and cost it can take to sort things out once your identity has been stolen is insurmountable. Some estimates claim that it can take up to 300 hours to put things right – including getting your credit rating back on track – if your identity has been stolen.

Remember also that if you unwittingly become a “fan” of an offending iPad tester scam page on Facebook and try to enrol your friends, they can all potentially become victims of the criminals as well. So do both yourself and them a favour, and stay well away.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

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