Phishing attack?

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jbasinger
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Phishing attack?

Postby jbasinger » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:22 am

Many people in our ward / stake have received a 'Correlation Department Research Survey' email that purports to be from the church. From my perspective it has all the earmarks of a phishing attack:

. It is ‘out of context/character’ with my experience with the church – In my experience with the church this is a ‘first’. Would they ever do this without letting people know about it in advance? The warning to not send the email on to others is a red flag. The offer of an Amazon gift card is a red flag. These things
are inconsistent with my experience with the church.
. Several of the links are to unknown or possibly spoofed domains – The email is from ‘LDS Church Office’ from a ‘noreply’ email server ? There is no way to know where this actually came from. The link goes to ‘lds.qualtrics.com’ and apparently points to a java executable folder. I have no idea who owns the ‘qualtrics.com’ domain but the fact that it is not the ‘lds.org’ domain is another ‘red flag’.
. The quote from the LDS Handbook (which is accessible to the public) also seems out of place and seems to be an attempt to obscure the fact that there is nothing in this email actually tying it to the church
. The link to ‘lds-church-research@ldschurch.org’ is also suspicious. I tried sending an email to this address but I don't think it exists
. The contact information at the end of the email is suspicious- ‘Product Manager’? An unknown 1-800 phone number? The name / title of an individual that is also publicly known?

The only way I know to definitively test this email would be to set up a test PC and trace what happens when you click the link. But I don't currently have a PC configured for this and I don't have time to do this

I brought this to the attention of our local leaders and they invited me to follow up on my own and to let them know what I found.

The problem is that I don't have contacts to ask for a reliable response to my concerns - which I why I am posting this here. Does anyone here know who could give me a definitive answer if this is a 'real' request or a 'scam'?

eblood66
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby eblood66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:37 am

I can't speak to your email as I haven't seen it and don't have any other specific knowledge. But you may want to compare your email to the (valid) one from this thread: https://tech.lds.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22684

It looks like lds.qualtrics.com is a valid domain used by the church for research and surveys. You can call the one of the numbers listed in Handbook 2 section 21.1.35 to find out for certain whether the email is legitimate.

jbasinger
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby jbasinger » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:47 am

The letter is as follows:

Dear LDS Church Member,

The Church is conducting a survey of member perceptions and attitudes towards religious participation. This survey should take about 20-30 minutes to complete. You will be compensated for your time with an Amazon gift card (e-cards will be sent to all participants who complete the survey). We value the responses of all members, regardless of your current level of activity. Please click the link below to access the survey. Please do not send this link to other members.
Follow this link to the Survey:
Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
https://lds.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/[remainder removed]

The Correlation Research Division is the only group authorized by the Brethren to conduct research for the Church. As instructed in Handbook 2, section 21.1.35, “The only authorized research agency of the Church is the Correlation Research Division of the Correlation Department. Representatives of this division use questionnaires and interviews to obtain information on issues of concern to General Authorities.”

If you have any questions about this research effort, please contact James Glenn of the Correlation Research Division at Church headquarters: LDS-Church-Research@ldschurch.org.

Thank you for your help.



James D. Glenn | Product Evaluation Manager
Correlation Research Division | Correlation
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Phone: 1-800-453-3860, ext. 23252.
Last edited by russellhltn on Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edit URL so no one else can take the survey.

jbasinger
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby jbasinger » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:50 am

Thanks for the response.
Do they realize what a dangerous precedent it is to get people to respond to surveys received at random from unverified sources?

jbasinger
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby jbasinger » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:03 pm

. The -only- thing that is reassuring about this communication is that the phone number is published in Handbook 2. I called the number and they assured me the survey is legitimate
. This information in the handbook is -not- common knowledge- they are really setting a precedent for very dangerous on-line behavior

eblood66
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Location: Cumming, GA, USA

Re: Phishing attack?

Postby eblood66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:28 pm

I think they've tried to provide information to allow verification but I agree they have left multiple aspects that will raise red flags for any savvy recipient. At least this may reduce their response rate and at worst, as you say, it may make it easier for bad actors to target church members.

It would help a lot if they could setup a lds.org url as the main entry point (even if it then redirects to another service provider). An actual link to the relevant section of Handbook 2 might help or better yet a page on lds.org that specifically outlines how to verify this kind of request.

If there is a place for comments on the survey or a feedback link on the survey site, submitting that kind of feedback would probably be a good idea. If they don't have any such facility, you could send feedback using the Feedback link on lds.org and I expect it would get to the people involved with these surveys.

russellhltn
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby russellhltn » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:37 pm

jbasinger wrote:Do they realize what a dangerous precedent it is to get people to respond to surveys received at random from unverified sources?

Unfortunately, I think for most organizations, the group responsible for getting the information and group responsible for security have a non-existent intersection set.

I agree, having the letter point to a lds.org domain would have done a lot to alleviate concerns.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

lajackson
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby lajackson » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:19 pm

jbasinger wrote:Does anyone here know who could give me a definitive answer if this is a 'real' request or a 'scam'?

You did the right thing by calling and questioning the email. I would have done the same. I am able to share some additional insight based on a phone call to Church headquarters that I just made.

Yes, the survey is real and comes from the Church. I have been selected to participate in these surveys in the past, in fact a different one just last week. The survey is coming from the Church department authorized to conduct these surveys and the link is to the company that conducts the actual survey for the Church.

What caused me concern is that I have never seen any form of compensation offered for these surveys. Here is the explanation I received. This survey is going throughout the world. The survey group includes many who are barely or not at all active in the Church. It was determined that a small incentive would increase the response rate significantly enough to make it worthwhile. This is the first time they have taken this approach, and I imagine the approach will be evaluated along with the actual results of the survey.

But yes, the survey is real and the incentive, though small, is also intended and real. The incentive will take a few days to go out after the survey is returned. It is in fact an e-card for the company mentioned.

uygur
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby uygur » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:30 pm

Nope. Not phishing.

The 2nd one I've seen and responded to. Interesting questions very odd cover letter but given the paranoid post on this thread I somewhat understand the oddity of the cover letter.

The promised gift card for the first one is still pending. Perhaps both will show up after the 2nd pass.

Uygur

catherinemurray
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Re: Phishing attack?

Postby catherinemurray » Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:47 pm

NOT a REPLY

QUESTION I recevied the follow email today June 6th 2020 It adressed me with my full name IS THIS LEGIT???

Under the direction of the Correlation Executive Committee, the Research Division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints periodically conducts research. You have been selected to participate in this internet-based survey. The purpose of this survey is to learn about your interest in participating in an upcoming online focus group.

General Church Officers are looking to learn from specific audiences about thier experience as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This survey should take about 5 minutes to complete. If possible, please complete this survey within the next few days. To begin, click on the internet link below:

Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser: https://research.churchofjesuschrist.or ... oq5BwobMGh?[key removed]

Thank you for your willingness to help with this research. If you have any questions, please contact [name removed]@churchofjesuschrist.org.


Sincerely,


Church Headquarters
Correlation Research Division
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints



For more information about research studies in the Church, see General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you have questions regarding the legitimacy of this request, please refer to General Handbook 38.8.40.

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Last edited by russellhltn on Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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