Beware the product testing scam

Tony Levene
by Lovemoney Staff Tony Levene on 23 April 2011  |  Comments 14 comments

Alarm bells should ring if you're offered significant cash or expensive gadgets in exchange for a little testing work.

Beware the product testing scam

I don't know about you, but I always feel flattered if someone asks my opinion. It can be anything – the AV referendum, world peace, the latest gadget, a new computer game, or a bar of chocolate.

And rarely a day goes past without someone sending me an email soliciting my views on this or that. Some are quite harmless because I know where they come from. I often get emails from “supersavvyme” which works for washing powder giant Procter & Gamble. If I rate P&G's domestic cleaning or personal grooming products, I might get a free trial size detergent or deodorant. That's fine – I know that I am on their list because I once applied for one of their products for free.

But I also get many offering me expensive gadgets such as computers, MP3 players or mobile phones to test. Here, the incentive is more than a pack of washing powder or a bar of soap – I get the keep the item after I have tried it out. This can be a real attraction – we are talking about goodies costing hundreds of pounds.

Often, the gadget I am supposed to test is something which is not yet available. Take the iPhone5. It should be sensational – it is rumoured to be a big advance on the present model, enabling me to phone that much better, text that much faster, surf the net speedier, and use apps in new and more amazing ways. It could put the genius into smartphone.

Now I say “rumoured” because I don't really know anything much about it other than one day it is rumoured to happen. If it is true, it is still under development at Apple headquarters – and Apple, even more than most companies, is fanatical about keeping its products under super secret wraps until the official launch date. No-one even knows when that might be – one online rumour suggests late summer to early autumn.

It's much the same with computer games. Fraudsters know there is a large demographic of young males (sorry to stereotype but that group is the largest fan base for games) who would do anything to get a pre-launch or “beta” copy of Death Dungeon 10 or Murder Mayhem 8. Again, computer game firms prize their confidentiality.

So what happens if I respond to an email offering me the gadget or the game to keep if I test it (and obviously I can't try it without having it in my hands)?

It could be one of several – sometimes inter-related – scams.

  • I might be told that before I can test the product, I have to purchase something like “Testing for Dummies” or “Teach yourself Product Trials”. This will cost me £25 – for which I receive a few pages of tortuously written rubbish. I never get the product – hardly surprising as no one else outside the company has it either.
  • I am asked to join a product testing panel. This will cost me £10 by direct debit. The debit will taken each month – the scam artists hope that I'll forget about it. Of course, the panel does not exist, they have my bank details and I never get the promised item.
  • In a cut down version of the Nigerian advance fee scam fraud, I'll be asked for a payment of perhaps £20 to go via Moneygram or Western Union to show “mutual trust” in such a “confidential matter”. Once this “trust” has been established, I'll be asked for more for “legal clearance documents” and so forth. Again, the item will never appear.

Flattering as it may seem, there is no way that firms developing phones or games want my opinion. If you are promised any significant cash or expensive gadget for what you are told is a few minutes work, steer well clear. If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it is so bad that it is criminal.

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Award-winning scams expert Tony Levene explains why he's writing a blog about scams and why he is The Scam Magnet!

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Comments (14)

  • simonpodge
    Love rating 0
    simonpodge said

    In reply to fillyp and RH73 I have checked the facebook site that you claim to have updated and your comments do not exist. So either there is a problem with your reviews or you didn't really post them and you just work for the company and are trying to troll all sites which post reviews against your company...

    The only testing you get out of this is how to filter phone calls from numerous spam callers and how to delete the many extra junk emails you receive.

    Nothing in this world is free and despite ticking no to all the preferences I have received fantastic offers to earn $4000 a day working from home and still no Samsung phone....funny that!

    In response to Carley being efficient, please, lets be honest, she's not actually doing anything except selling our details to dodgy companies around the world...

    Report on 14 August 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Tanni
    Love rating 92
    Tanni said

    These are outright scams and fraud. They use clever wordplay such as chance or win a chance to win a prize. When we see such adverts we should report them ASAP. These companies get our personal info and sell it to cold calling companies.

    Most half decent firms like Apple would do their product testing on their own staff and do not require the reviews of advert loving click the icon type of people who are only interested in prize rather than the best interests of the research and development company.

    Report on 14 August 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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