updated 3/16/2012 5:24:27 PM ET 2012-03-16T21:24:27

Just hours after Apple's release of its newest iPad today (March 16) the highly sought-after gadget has already become a sleek new weapon in the online scammer's arsenal.

An email campaign has been spreading around the Web with an offer to "Test & Keep an iPad 3 FREE." Spotted by researchers at the security firm Sophos, the fraudulent email entices recipients to click on a link, but when they do so, they are hit with a JavaScript alert informing them that to claim their prize, they must first enter their email address "on the next page."

It's important to note that Apple's new IPad is simply called "The new iPad," and not the "iPad3." But even if that discrepancy doesn't tip you off, the next step of the scam should.

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Continuing to follow the directions takes you to a survey; filling it out won't get you any closer to the new iPad, and will only generate revenue for the con artists behind the scam.

Sophos' Chester Wisniewski explained why survey scams are so damaging to those that fall for them.

"Some people argue that providing the information for the survey might be worth it, just in case there really is a free iPad at the end of the rainbow," he wrote. "After all, it's only all of your personal details. This is a dangerous and careless attitude. Forking over your identity to scammers out of the hope you will get something for nothing is not a fair trade. If you wish to gamble, perhaps trade a dollar for a lottery ticket instead."

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved


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