I received an invitation to a survey today. I was selected as an alumnus of the University of Michigan, an enormous university. The e-mail implies that the survey is possibly on behalf of the university. It includes the well-recognized “Block M” logo.
- The “From” address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Links to unsubscribe go to click.skem1.com.
- The survey itself is at survey.bz.
It all looks pretty fishy/phishy.
Nowhere are there any links to umich.edu.
Also, I happen to know that the University of Michigan tends to use Qualtrics for surveys. Why wouldn’t the university send out a Qualtrics survey from a umich.edu e-mail address with umich.edu unsubscribe links instead of a survey.bz survey from a lrwonlinesurvey.com address with click.skem1.com unsubscribe links?
The survey is likely legitimate. The alumni department probably contracted with a research firm, that research firm probably uses a third-party survey software, and they probably use a different third-party service to handle mailing lists.
But I will not be filling out such a survey. You shouldn’t either. And, if you’re in the business of creating surveys or hiring companies to create surveys, you should think about these factors. Why create something that looks this suspicious?
I’ve always said that survey results automatically exclude those who don’t have time to waste on surveys (this one suggested it would take 18 minutes to complete!), but now it seems they also exclude anyone with a mind for security and privacy.