Help Disrupt Aging. Join White House Live Stream Today at 8:30 a.m. ET. Learn more

Scam Alert

A Survey Con Can Cost You Big

3 ways crooks can trick you (and don't click on the spider video)

Links to your friends with shocking videos

Emails and advertisements on legitimate websites promise a free tablet computer or other goodies for your "vote" on a would-be presidential candidate or another in-the-news topic.

At best, these are ruses that allow unscrupulous "researchers" to earn commissions for collecting responses from you. Forget about getting a tablet computer — what you may actually get is a barrage of spam.

At worst, these come-ons are meant to get you to click on a link that infects your computer with software that collects your online banking numbers or hijacks your personal files.

Scammers know this kind of bait has lost some of its appeal, so now on Facebook, YouTube and other sites they're promising exciting video clips: a celebrity's mishap, a natural disaster or, the latest, a "disgusting" video of a spider crawling under someone's skin.

With the spider scam, if you click on the video "play" button, you're actually doing the scammers' work for them, before you're sent off to a survey page. You're sharing the original link with all of your social network friends, setting them up for more of the same.

Also of interest: Fraud alert or credit freeze to fight identity theft? >>

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP Books/Sterling.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Credit safeguards with AARP® Identity Theft Protection from TrustedID®.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Man using cell phone outdoors

Members save on monthly service & usage fees and get free activation with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.