Don't fall for the 'Free iPad' scam

Don't fall for the 'Free iPad' scam »Play Video
A customer uses an Apple iPad on the first day of Apple iPad sales at an Apple store in San Francisco, Saturday, April 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
SEATTLE -- Thousands of people hoping to get their hands on a free iPad are being duped by scammers.

The slick promotions are coming in through Facebook, Twitter, even regular e-mail, cooked up to fit right in with all the iPad hype.

Scammers are targeting consumers with e-mail messages that look convincingly as if they're from a trusted friend. The e-mails include a link to extremely professional looking Web sites that claim to be looking for beta testers for the iPad.

You're supposed to be able to keep the iPad after you put it through a 2-month test.

These Web sites -- and there are several -- not only want your name and e-mail address, they want your e-mail password 'and' the name of your e-mail provider. The registration page includes a list of e-mail providers that includes providers targeting children.

I contacted Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, California. Tom Neumayr, with the company's Media Relations Department, says these promotion sites are not authorized and Apple is doing no beta testing whatsoever with the iPad product.

It's a sophisticated scam. Which means anyone who responds is giving strangers total access to their e-mail account: your name, address, e-mail address, e-mail provider and potentially everything they need to access other private information.

If you get an offer for a free iPad, even a new iPad at a discounted price, don't bite. It's not legit. And if you fell for the beta testing scam, contact your provider immediately and change your password and account information.

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