Protect Against Scam Survey Sites

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We know all about the benefits of taking surveys online. We get to help shape the products and ads people will use and see in the future. It’s fun to be the first to see new items, we get to help the companies we love, and that’s not to mention the money! There’s a lot of great reasons to take online surveys. But have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, filling out all those forms with all your personal information over and over again might be dangerous? Well, it can be. We do our best to avoid scams, but the bad guys are out there and they get better every day at mimicking legitimate sites such as Toluna, MySurvey, GlobalTestMarket, and Opinion Outpost. If you get caught in one of their scams, you could be signing up for way more than a research panel.

Some scam survey sites are obnoxious but not terribly harmful. They steal your time by getting you to take surveys but they never pay you. You will lose an hour or two, hopefully less, but that’s where it will end. Worse are the survey sites who bait you into paying them money up front. You’ve seen sites like these and we warn you about them all the time. You should never have to pay any money to join a survey site!

In a different category are scam sites that are actively preying on you and your information. Some scam sites may contain viruses that could harm your computer. Some are collecting your personal information as a ripe resource for ID theft. Some are skimming your contact information and packaging it to sell to spammers. It’s all bad. You don’t want anything to do with these fake survey sites.

So, how can you protect yourself? There are a few steps anyone who takes surveys online should do routinely just to make sure they stay safe.

Have a separate email account just for surveys. These are free and easy to obtain online. Create one and use it just for surveys. Just in case you run into an email spam bot, your personal and work email won’t become compromised.

Never pay a fee to take a survey. Just don’t do it. This includes paying for special lists of survey sites that some places offer. All of that information is available for free on the web, so don’t be a fool and pay for it. The internet is full of free, reliable, legitimate survey sites. There’s never a reason to pay money to join a panel.

Do your homework. When you are considering joining a new survey site, check it out first. Google the name. Look it up here. Check out the company’s rating at the BBB. Use the tools at your disposal to make sure the company does what it says it will do and that other people have been satisfied with the survey company. It will take 15 minutes of your time and you’ll have weeded out both the scam companies and the useless sites!

Read the privacy policy and the fine print. First of all, every survey site should have a privacy policy that states they won’t sell your personal information to third parties. If they don’t, that should be a red flag right there. Read it and make sure you understand it. Read the fine print about how surveys are conducted, how rewards are cashed out and how long it all might take. Read the FAQ page.

Trust your gut. Finally, just trust your instincts. If you just feel like something isn’t quite right about a survey site, stop right there. Don’t give them any more personal information. You can always quit at any time, just as you can always go back to a site later if you feel like it. It’s amazing though, how often your instinct is right.

The good news is, there are fewer scam sites out there than there are good legitimate survey sites that will respect your information and pay you for your time. We’ve investigated and reviewed many of them: Pinecone, SurveySavvy, Ipsos I-say, and Toluna scams. We learned these are not scams and are safe to use. If you develop a few basic good habits about your online survey use, you can stay clear of dangerous sites while you have fun and earn money.

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Comments (2)

  • Cloe Martin June 08, 2016 Reply
    Hi Sterling..I must say that you have given a completely different angle to the way Online Poll/Surveys were considered earlier. It's very true that filling out personal details can be dangerous for users. Thanks for sharing this very important piece of information.
  • Lisa September 17, 2014 Reply
    These are good tips. I also don't do the surveys where they want to videotape you on your computer webcam. That seems to invasive to me.