The survey promises that “McDonald's will add $75 credit to your account just for taking part in our quick 8 question survey.”
Once a user has filled out the survey about McDonald's food and service, the scam prompts them to provide personal bank account information, where their $75 reward supposedly will be deposited. Users are prompted to provide a full name, email address, credit card number, expiration date and electronic signature.
Phishing scams typically target banks and financial institutions, such as PayPal and eBay, but this is the first known campaign that targets McDonald's customers, Ivan Macalintal, research project manager at Trend Micro, told SCMagazineUS.com Monday.
Similar scams in the past have featured fake feedback surveys relating to Wal-Mart, American Airlines and President-elect Barack Obama.
“This clearly shows that cybercriminals are taking advantage of users' tendency to try and save up as much money as they can, especially this holiday season,” Aivee Cortez, fraud analyst at Trend Micro, wrote in a blog post.
This particular attack plays on the economic downturn, and it's likely that users will see more of these reward schemes, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst Avivah Litan, told SCMagazineUS.com on Monday.
Phishing schemes, in general, are becoming more complicated, usually also involving malware, she said. Phishing is effective and still remains a very prevalent attack method.
“It comes down to anywhere from a one to three percent response rate,” Litan said. “When you send out millions of emails, a one-to-three percent response rate is pretty good.”
Last month, security vendor Cyveillance reported a significant increase in phishing attacks during the past few months. Cyveillance reported the average number of phishing attacks in the first quarter of 2008 was around 400 per day. In September and October that number rose to over 1,750 with record peaks as high as 13,209 in a single day
Cyveillance attributed the increase to criminals taking advantage of the instability in the financial markets.
McDonald's did not respond to a request for comment.