Widespread phishing campaign lures McDonald's fans with cash offer

September 02, 2010 Sophos Press Release

IT security and data protection firm Sophos is warning computer users to be cautious following the discovery of a widespread spam campaign that is promising cash in return for completing a McDonald's customer satisfaction survey. The emails, claiming to be sent by 'McDonald's Survey Department' and with the subject line 'McDonald's Customer Survey' direct recipients to the survey that poses questions on McDonald's food.

Bogus McDonald's survey

Once the survey has been completed, computer users are asked to provide a raft of personal information, including their credit card number and security code, so that they can receive a $90 payment for taking the time to complete the questions.

"Exploiting online surveys is a popular way for scammers to make money as legitimate customer satisfaction surveys are increasingly common," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Although it's not unusual to be offered a reward or the chance of a prize for completing an online survey, a legitimate questionnaire will never ask you to part with your card details. I'm afraid anyone hoping to receive the cash from this survey is more likely to have their account emptied by the spammers."

Sophos believes that some users may be more likely to hand over their information to the scammers behind the McDonald's phish.

"It's ironic that some internet users may actually be more likely to hand over their credit card information because they are more used to receiving phishing emails pretending to come from online banks, not burger joints," explained Cluley. "The truth is, however, that phishers can use a multitude of disguises - posing not just as online banks, but social networks, online stores, web email providers and now fast food giants too."

Sophos recommends that companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend against the threats of spam, hackers, spyware and viruses.

Learn more about the attack by reading Chet Wisniewski's blog