Paid surveys are an excellent way to make some extra money in your spare time. After all, they’re a win-win: companies get valuable feedback from consumers, and consumers get paid for their time and opinions.
However, not all paid survey sites are the same. Some are legitimate, while others are nothing more than scams. It can be difficult to differentiate, but there are a few things you can look out for that will help you recognize a scam a mile away.
In this article, we’ll show you how to watch out for scam-paid survey sites, so you can avoid wasting your time on fraudulent websites.
What Are Survey Scams?
Many companies ask their customers to take surveys to gain valuable feedback about their products and services.
Companies get helpful insight into their customers’ experiences via surveys, and participants often receive tokens of appreciation.
However, not all survey sites are legitimate. Some companies set up fake survey websites as a way to collect personal information from unsuspecting participants. This information is then sold to third-party marketing firms or used for identity theft.
Over time, con artists have begun to add the logos of well-known large retailers to their surveys to make them seem more genuine.
Naked Security, a website dedicated to computer security news, also claims that some survey fraudsters have included low-cost rewards in their offers to make them seem more legitimate.
For example, people have sometimes been offered the latest iPhone, Samsung, or Huawei smartphone for just $1.
In this situation, experts have seen that these attractive rewards cause individuals to let their guard down and input personal details without thinking twice.
Examples of Surveys Scams
- Publix Scam
The Publix Scam is a clever check scam that includes receiving a clerk’s check for a large sum of money. A check similar to this might be in your mailbox with a letter from Publix Supermarkets.
The letter would claim that you’ve been selected to participate in a “secret shopping task,” in which you are required to write a report on what you saw at the store and purchase a certain number of gift cards there (or you will be asked to transfer money to a specific account).
The check should cover the cost of these gift cards or cash transfers, leaving you with the remaining balance.
The scam? The check will ultimately bounce, and you’ll get the short end, with the money always going to a hidden wire record or gift cards whose codes you’ve given to the con artists.
- Phishing Scam
Phishing scams are another type of survey scam that you should be aware of. This type of scam involves receiving an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate company, asking you to participate in a survey.
The email might even include the company’s logo, making it look even more legitimate. However, clicking on the link in the email will take you to a fake website that’s designed to look like the real thing.
On this website, you’ll be asked to input personal information, such as your Social Security number or credit card number.
Once you input this information, the scammers will have access to your personal accounts and can run up charges on your card or bank account.
How To Watch Out For Scam Paid Survey Sites — 5 Red Flags To Look For
Now that you know what types of survey scams are out there, let’s take a look at how you can spot a scam a mile away.
Here are five red flags to look for:
- You Have to Pay to Join
A legitimate survey site will never ask you for money to join. That’s because companies are more than willing to pay consumers for their feedback- they don’t need to charge them.
Some sly individuals make lists of legitimate survey panels and market them to you as if it were a special offer that only they were aware of and wanted to share with you— for a fee, of course. You can identify some of these lists by looking for reviews that mention how the person who found the list only made pennies after completing several surveys.
The bottom line is: don’t pay to join a paid survey site. It’s free to sign up.
- The Website Looks Fishy
There are several telltale signs that a website is not legitimate. If you come across a website that looks like it was made in the early 2000s or late 1990s, it’s probably a scam.
When you visit the website, does it take a long time to load? Are there misspellings or grammatical errors on the website? Is the website HTTPS secure? Is the domain age over 4 years (the longer, the better)?
- You’re Required to Input Sensitive Information
When you’re signing up for a paid survey site, you should never have to input sensitive information like your credit card number or Social Security number.
Scammers will often try to collect this information by promising a higher payout if you provide it.
If a website asks for any of this information, know that it’s a scam and walk away. Legitimate paid survey sites will only require basic information such as your name and email address for demographic purposes.
- The Payout Is Too Good to Be True
If a website promises that you’ll make $50 for completing a five-minute survey, it’s probably a scam. While there are some high-paying surveys out there, they usually take longer to complete and are only available to select demographics.
Generally, you can earn around $0.50-$5 per survey. If a website is offering anything more than that, be wary.
- You’re Being Directed to a Third-Party Website
When you click on a paid survey, you should be taken directly to the company’s website, where you’ll answer questions and receive compensation. You should never be redirected to a third-party website.
These websites are often designed to look like the real thing, but they’re actually just a way for scammers to steal your information.
Once you input your information on these websites, the scammers will have access to your accounts and can drain your bank account or run up charges on your credit card.
Knowing how to watch out for scam paid survey sites is essential if you want to actually make money with online surveys.
There are a lot of scams out there, but as long as you know what to look for, you can avoid them.
Keep an eye out for the five red flags listed above, and you’ll be on your way to earning bucks for your opinions in no time.
Amit Gupta is the founder of SurveysForMoney24.com. Amit has broad experience in making money online through paid survey websites and so he is assisting users to navigate complicated decisions. After completing his high school certification, Amit has spent half a decade trying paid survey sites to make money online since 2014. Before beginning SurveysForMoney24.com, Amit has used more than 200+ survey websites to make money.