Did you get a suspicious pop-up survey from Start Communications?

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Did you get a suspicious pop-up survey from Start Communications?

Fake scam survey

Have you tried to visit a website, only to realize that you typed the incorrect URL and had a survey pop up that appears to be from Start Communications? Be careful. This survey isn't from us — and clicking on it could cause a lot of problems.


How do fake scams work

How does it work?

What's the point of fake surveys

What's the point?

How to report fake survey scams

Reporting fraud


The short answer

If you see one of these surveys, don’t answer it. Just close the pop-up. For a more in depth look, keep reading.

How does it work?

Your connection to the internet is identified by a unique set of numbers known as an IP address. This information is public, and generally speaking, it identifies the company that owns it (typically, your internet service provider). IP addresses can even identify your general location. 

Those crafty crooks

Knowing this, and knowing that people commonly mistype in web site addresses, scammers started taking advantage of these typos. With millions and millions of people visiting social media sites like Facebook and Twitter each day, there's a huge number who mistakenly type too many (or not enough) letters into the address bar of their browser.

Scammers register these commonly mistyped domains, and set them up with automated programs designed to look up the public information associated to an IP address. Armed with this information (and appearing to be legitimate) these web sites present unsuspecting visitors with a popup that appears to be coming directly from their internet service provider.

fake survey scam sample

What's the point of the survey popup scam? Identity theft

Popup surveys, especially those appearing to come from a trusted source, are often associated with prizes. Prizes are a great way to get people to react to an offer. One common survey scam offers a reward for answering, but makes you pay for the shipping of your prize. What really happens is that you hand over your credit card details to someone who turns around and sells that information to other crooks, and you become a victim of identity theft.

The malware notice scam

Another similar scheme has fraudsters sending out pop-up notices that appear to be from Start.ca claiming that malware has been detected on the user's computer. The malware notice prompts the user to call a "support" phone number to get help. If the user calls the fake support number, they end up on the line with a scammer posing as a support technician who wants to help them get rid of the malware for a fee. The technician then asks for the user’s credit card information, which again puts the victim at risk for identity theft.

fake survey scam sample

Ignore malware pop-ups

If you see a pop-up claiming to be from Start.ca asking you to call a support number, don't make the call. In fact, it's a good idea to ignore any pop-up that tells you to take action against malware unless you're sure it's coming from the anti-virus software installed on your computer. When in doubt, look up the phone number of the company that makes your anti-virus software (not the number on the pop-up window) or call an IT professional to see if the warning is legitimate. You can then work with the IT professional to remove the malware from your computer.

If you have already called the scammer's phone number, call your bank or credit card company as soon as possible to have any charges reversed.

What else should you do?

Run a security scan

If you completed a survey or installed some software on your computer as a result of a popup like this, it's a good idea to run a malware scan. If you're a Start.ca customer and need assistance, please call us at 1-866-434-5888 any time between 8am and 11pm.

Bookmark the sites you use frequently

This way, you don't have to type in the URL of the site you want to visit. You can just select the site from your list and go there with one click.

Share this post to help raise awareness about this – you might be saving someone a lot of trouble by doing so! 


Be careful when you’re online

When typing in a website address, always make sure you're actually on the website you intended to be on. Remove any chance for error by bookmarking frequently used sites. 

Reporting fraud

If you think you've given your credit card information away due to this scam, here's what you should do:

Step 1 - Contact your local police force and file a report.
Step 2 - Contact your bank/financial institution and credit card company.
Step 3 - Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.

  • Equifax Canada - Toll free: 1-800-465-7166
  • TransUnion Canada - Toll free: 1-877-525-3823


Step 4 - Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.



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