How to Identify Online Survey Scams
Many people support themselves with a side hustle or a second job that they can do working from home to earn a supplemental income to help with expenses. A google search of how to make money from home will show you some varying results from content writing, website design or online tutoring, but for people without experience in these fields, the one job that shows up that anyone can do is filling out surveys.
Many sites and ads say that you can make up to 500 dollars a week from the comfort of your home by filling out surveys. Many times, this is too good to be true. Although a lot of companies offer rewards for filling out surveys, most do not pay you, and there are plenty of online survey scams. This article will teach you how to identify an online survey scam as well as how to avoid an online survey scam.
What Are Online Surveys?
The use of online surveys are legitimate in some cases and are used by businesses for market research. Universities also run surveys both online and off in order to publish case studies. Prior to the proliferation of the internet, surveys used to be either based on phone interviews or in person, but now it is very easy for businesses to get people to complete surveys online and is not the main method for conveying surveys. The online survey industry now generates about $1 billion in revenue yearly, with many experts believing this number will only grow.
Online Survey Scams List
Pay for membership- Some of the scams offer you access to exclusive survey opportunities that offer more money than other surveys, but in order to gain access to these you need to become a member and pay a membership fee. Once you sign up, however, there are never any surveys available.
Online Surveys For Money Scams- Some surveys may offer you money once you complete the survey, but then when you submit your answers, you never receive the money. You cannot get time back, so there is not really anything you can do.
Steal your personal Information- Many scams also steal your personal information. They do this by inserting a verification or qualification process before filling out the survey. They then sell your information to marketing companies. Another similar scam is less obvious. The scammers include a series of questions within the survey that are designed to get you to reveal personal information about yourself.
Signs of an Online Survey Scam
There are surveys that actually provide you with money, but they are usually by invitation only or by proving that you fit into the demographic they are looking for. This is simply due to the fact that if they published the survey publicly then people would lie about their demographic in order to make the money. For these trusted surveys you will need to confirm your qualification for the survey prior to filling it out. The more trusted survey companies are Qualtrics and samplicio.us.
Alternatively, there are many things to look out for when looking for an online survey. Here are a few signs that the survey you have found may be a scam.
They ask for financial information- If you are asked to provide any bank details or pay for a membership fee for shipping or any other fee assume it is a scam. A legitimate business will never ask you for money when paying you, they would simply reduce it from your pay.
They ask for personal information- Some details about yourself are not relevant for a survey, this includes details like your social security number, exact address or phone number. A useful rule of thumb is to ask if the answer to a question has any bearing on the results. If the answer is no, be wary of the survey, it might be a scam used to collect your information for identity theft.
Looks too good to be true- If the surveyor offers you guaranteed money before you have qualified it is likely a scam due to the fact that legitimate companies will only offer you money or a reward after you have qualified to be in the demographic they are looking for. Additionally, very few companies provide cash payment, most offer gift cards or discounts, so if a company offers a lot of money it is likely a scam.
How to Avoid Online Survey Scams
Never give out personal information- Never give out information that is not relevant for a survey. Asking for your general location such as an area code is legitimate, the business may be trying to identify their target market, but asking for a specific address is never relevant for a survey. This applies also to phone surveys, as surveyors are not included in the national do not call registry, some scammers take advantage of this by getting you to register your phone number and steal your information over the phone.
Do not download survey applications- While this is not solely for survey apps, many applications that you download to your phone make you agree to provide access to a lot of information in order to use the app. While in many cases it is legitimate, in the case of survey apps, their motivations are usually of a more nefarious nature.
Be wary of phishing emails- You may receive offers via email for surveys promising rewards. A legitimate company will not use a Gmail account to email you, even if the mail comes from a legitimate address lookout for red flags like flagrant spelling mistakes and any of the cautionary signs listed above.