Warning!!! Nestle's breakfast cereal competition is data harvesting
A warning to all, Nestle's current Star-Wars breakfast cereal competition is a data harvesting scam, please do not fall for it by entering the competition.
Back story - I recently bought a box of Shreddies breakfast cereal and noticed the cereal maker, Nestle is running a star-wars competition, if you fill in a crossword puzzle and find the codeword you are in with a chance of winning a specially designed star-wars stormtrooper cereal bowl.
I like star-wars so I thought i'd give the competition a go, filled in the crossword, found the passcode, proceeded to Nestle's website to see if i had won and here is where the problem lies. When you go through the websites process of seeing if you are one of the limited winners (only 10,000 bowls being made) you get to a page where you have to fill in your personal details, full name, home address, post code and email address, then immediately below those entry boxes is green click box that says 'Click here to see if you've won'.
Requesting the personal details of competition entrants BEFORE
they know if they have won is whats referred to in the industry as 'data harvesting'. Nestle should only need the details of the winners, 10,000 of them BUT being asked to provide your details before knowing if your a winner or loser is a data harvesting scam and it is something that is widespread throughout the industry.
There can only be 10,000 winners because that is how many limited edition star-wars bowls have been made but due to how popular star-wars is, the competition could have hundreds of thousands of entries which means, Nestle now have the personal data of hundreds of thousands of entrants where only 10,000 of them are actually needed, personal data they can now sell on to 3rd party companies.
Anyone remember back in the day those 'You have won' letters that were so frequent amongst your post. The purpose was to tempt you into thinking you had won a big prize or a lottery and that you had to send back the pre-printed form inside filled out with your personal information, you was requested to sign it and send it back. This was a scam with the intention to get 'live' information. Companies needed to know if the person at an address was 'active' and the way to know this was to see who would send back the forms. Those that sent them back were then tagged as 'active' which this information could be sold to advertisers because they would know the person at the address is 'active' and therefore look at what comes through their door.
What Nestle is doing on it's website with regards to the competition is very much the same. They want to get as many 'live' or 'active' accounts as possible because it is easier to sell these 'live' accounts to 3rd party companies.
The postal version of these data harvesting scams was eventually banned and law updated to make it illegal. This has not happened to the online version of it and companies like Nestle have been using this data harvesting method for years.
The law has not kept up with the digital age yet and thus the online version is not considered illegal, morally and ethically wrong but not illegal. So if you see this competition on the box of cereals, DO NOT ENTER the online competition.