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Free iPhones offer just a phishing scam


TEST THE upcoming iPhone 7 and get a free iPhone 6 at the same time! If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Scammers are using Apple’s popularity to phish for credit-card information.
The scam starts when you receive an e-mail or spot a social-media post claiming that Apple is looking for people to test its upcoming iPhone 7. You’ve been “randomly selected” to try out the new device. To sign up as a tester, all you need to do is complete a short survey. Then, as a thank you for your participation, Apple will send you a free iPhone 6.
You click to the website and the survey seems official. It has basic questions such as: “Do you currently own any Apple products?” However, when you reach the end of the survey, the site prompts you to enter your credit-card information. It claims that “Apple” just needs to charge you shipping costs for your free iPhone 6.
Don’t do it! There is no free iPhone and Apple is not looking for iPhone 7 testers. Sharing your credit-card number and personal information with scammers opens you up to fraudulent charges and identity theft.
Many businesses offer discounts or free products in exchange for customer feedback and information on shopping preferences. It can be hard to tell a real offer from a fake one, but here are some pointers:
Check out the website’s ownership. Right click on the site’s URL link and select “Copy link address”. Then, go to and paste this destination URL into that site’s directory. The directory will tell you when and to whom a domain is registered. If the URL is brand new, or if the ownership is masked by a proxy service, consider it a big warning sign of a scam.
Watch out for look-alike URLs. Scammers pick URLs that look similar to those of legitimate sites. Be wary of sites that have the company or brand name as a subdomain of another URL (for example, or part of a longer URL ( or that use an unconventional top-level domain (the part of the name after the dot).
Legitimate businesses do not ask for credit-card numbers or banking information on customer surveys. If they do ask for personal information, like a physical or e-mail address, be sure there’s a link to their privacy policy.
Watch out for a reward that’s too good to be true. If the survey is real, you may be entered in a drawing to win a gift card or receive a small discount off your next purchase. Few businesses give away gifts worth hundreds of dollars just for answering a few questions.
Scams may also appear in text messages. Don’t even reply to them. In this country, forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cellphone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.
To find out about other scams, check out Better Business Bureau’s scam stopper at To report a scam, go to our scam tracker at

Jordan Rzad is the senior director responsible for internet marketing at Houston Better Business Bureau.

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