I have felt immensely popular lately. Really valued. Just look at my emails.

It appears Home Depot wants to offer me a reward — minimum value $90! — just to give my “valuable consumer data” for their 2021 Research Survey. I can get a $50 Wells Fargo voucher for completing “a quick survey about Wells Fargo.”

Lately it seems there’s no end to retailers filling my inbox, dying to know what I think and willing to reward me for it.

Except, it turns out, they aren’t.

Despite that trusty Home Depot orange and familiar Wells Fargo font — accompanied by a photo of a happy couple who appear to have just successfully negotiated a bank loan — both companies confirmed that nope, it wasn’t them.

“These types of emails, text messages and phone calls are indeed scams,” said Wells Fargo spokesperson Amy Amirault via email.

Sure, there’s legitimate market research being done out there. Or, senders can be third-party marketers with nothing to do with the actual company, which they sometimes reveal in print so tiny only mice can read it. But often there’s someone with seriously nefarious intentions out there — “the bad guys,” as some fraud experts call them.

And if you explore those ads? “You’re immediately telling the bad guys you participate in things like this,” said identity theft expert Carrie Kerskie, author of Your Public Identity: Because Nothing is Private Anymore. “Now they know how to target you.”

“If you were to get an email that is pure…

Read more…