…Your $50 Coupon to McDonald’s inside! Not!

The truth is, this has nothing to do with McDonald’s. The message even says so, if you read the fine print:

The advertisers in this email are not affiliated with any of the above brands.

Apparently it’s okay to pretend to be McDonald’s as long as you put in a disclaimer that says you’re not affiliated with them.

The perpetrators of this email are in that grey area between outright fraud and “legitimate” advertising. (The scare quotes on “legitimate” reflect our opinion that there is very little difference between spam and other forms of advertising.) As with all prize based marketing, there is must be a way you can actually claim the prize but it would probably be easier to put yourself through college, find a job and earn the money to buy it.

This particular message is almost all images. Using images is a common spam filter evasion technique. Obviously the senders are aware that their message is rather spammy.

fake mcdonalds survey
click for larger version

All of the links in the message go to the same URL

http://2urpocket.com/<tracking redacted>

which just redirects to

http://track.yourrewardinside.com/SplashPage.aspx?<tracking redacted>

and shows you this page:

fake mcdonalds survey page
click for larger version

So we have three “survey” questions, an option to “Select Your Free Gift” and a place to enter an email address. The implication here is that you’re handing your email address over to a McDonald’s sponsored survey in exchange for . . . AN APPLE iPad!!!

Other prize choices include:

  • $250 McDonald’s Gift Card
  • $250 Applebee’s Gift Card
  • $250 WalMart Gift Card
  • $250 Apple Gift Card
  • $250 Best Buy Gift Card
  • Apple iPhone 4g

Wow that’s a no brainer! Or at least it would be if they weren’t . . . er . . . stretching the truth (to the breaking point).

Read the fine print:

By entering your email and continuing, you certify that you are a US resident over the age of 18 and that you agree to the Privacy Policy, Redemption Instructions and Gift Rules and Terms & Conditions. You agree to receive promotional emails and special offers from trusted 3rd parties including .

Powered by YourRewardInside.com. YourRewardInside.com is an independent rewards program and not associated with any of the above listed merchants or brands. The above listed merchants or brands in no way endorse or sponsor YourRewardInside.com’s offer and are not liable for any alleged or actual claims related to this offer. The above listed trademarks and service marks are the marks of their respective owners. YourRewardInside.com is solely responsible for all Gift fulfillment. In order to receive your gift you must: (1) Meet the eligibility requirements (2) complete the rewards bonus survey (3) complete a total of 13 Sponsor Offers as stated in the Gift Rules (4) Follow redemption instructions.

Copyright © 2004-2010 YourRewardInside.com All rights reserved.

So, theoretically, you could get one of these gifts if you satisfy the four points listed above. We’re betting that’s damn near impossible.

If you decide to go for it and hand over your address (we gave them a fake one) you get this page:

fake mcdonalds survey page 2
click for larger version

Hmmmm . . . so just an email address isn’t enough information. They also want name, address, birth date and phone numbers. And if you give them this you get a much bigger survey.

We won’t go into detail about the maze of information gathering pages that follows. We’ll just point out that all of these pages pop a Javascript prompt asking if you’re sure you want to leave whenever you try to get away.

begging you to stay and be scammed

We’ve pointed out before that this is an excellent way to spot scammy web sites and this is no exception.

Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

BTW, if anyone has actually made it through one of the prize chasing mazes and received anything of value we’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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OnlyMyEmail is an award winning hosted spam filtering service and business email hosting provider. Our enterprise cloud computing anti-spam solution, the MX-Defender, has the highest capture rate of any spam filter ever tested in the VBSpam Challenge, blocking a record setting 99.9993% of all malicious and junk email.

Our Personal spam filtering system is also a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution and has won both the PC World "World Class Award" and also the PC Magazine "Editor's Choice Award."

OME-Kids is a webmail solution that protects children from spam and other harmful emails. OME-Kids offers unique Parental Controls that allow you to choose the level of security and oversight that's right for your child.

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2 Responses to “…Your $50 Coupon to McDonald’s inside! Not!”

  1. Casey says:

    So how does one actually unsubscribe from this if they stupidly click on a link? I clicked on yourrewardinside.com for an offer and I have been receiving spam ever since.

  2. OnlyMyEmail Anti-Spam Team says:

    Casey,

    Ouch. Short answer: you can’t.

    Your best bet is to get a good spam filter like ours. Obviously we have a vested interest in encouraging spam filter use but the fact is, once an address is compromised like that, it can never be cleaned. The only real alternative is to dump the address or start using it as a spam trap.

    Sorry.