Here’s how to figure out if that ad for a paid survey is too good to be true.
You’ve probably seen online ads promising a lucrative side income or one-time easy cash for taking paid surveys on everything from shopping habits to social issues or food and entertainment preferences.
Maybe you’ve even considered putting your opinion out there by answering a few questions for a quick $50. Don’t be too quick to begin typing answers to paid surveys, though.
“Very few of these schemes are legit, and those that are don’t offer a get-rich-route to success,” according to Scambusters, a public resource on internet scams. Want further proof? Type in “paid survey” on a Better Business Bureau (BBB) search and scroll through all the “F” rating results.
Click here to sign up for our free financial education email course.
Table of Contents
Paid surveys refer to research tools used by companies and organizations to gather feedback from consumers. Participants are usually compensated for sharing their opinions and insights on various products, services, or market trends. Despite the potential benefits, skepticism and doubts surround the credibility of paid surveys.
How Paid Surveys Work
To participate in paid surveys, individuals typically sign up with survey panels or companies. The sign-up process involves creating a profile that includes demographic information, interests, and preferences. This data helps companies match participants with relevant survey opportunities. Compensation methods can vary, including cash payments, gift cards, or other incentives.
Pros and Cons of Paid Surveys
Like any other opportunity, paid surveys have their advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, they provide an accessible way to earn extra income from the comfort of your own home. They often offer flexibility in terms of when and where you complete surveys. However, it is important to acknowledge the limitations of paid surveys, such as the potential for low-paying surveys and the time investment required.
Maximizing Your Earnings with Paid Surveys
To make the most of paid surveys, there are several strategies you can employ. Increasing your chances of receiving survey invitations can be achieved by joining multiple survey platforms and updating your profile regularly. Additionally, optimizing your survey completion rates by providing thoughtful and accurate responses can lead to more opportunities. Some survey platforms also offer referral programs, allowing you to earn extra rewards by referring friends or family.
Legitimate Paid Survey Opportunities
Some well-established and trustworthy survey platforms include Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and Vindale Research. These platforms have a track record of delivering surveys from reputable companies and providing fair compensation to participants.
Paid Survey Red Flags
When exploring paid survey opportunities, it’s important to be aware of potential red flags that indicate a survey may be a scam. Here are some common red flags to watch out for:
The survey promises big bucks
If an ad offers to pay $250 for completing a survey that takes 15 minutes, hold up before you start answering questions. Marketing companies typically pay people anywhere from $50 to $300 for in-person product and social issues focus groups that last a couple of hours or more. Even legitimate online surveys typically pay less than $10 an hour, says Scambusters.
Beware of surveys that promise easy money, a steady flow of cash or a stream of free products simply for taking the survey.
Unsolicited survey invitations
Be cautious of unsolicited survey invitations via email or pop-up ads. Legitimate survey opportunities usually come through reputable survey platforms or are opt-in based on your profile information. Unsolicited invitations may lead to fraudulent surveys or attempts to gather your personal information.
There’s no company name
If a marketing or survey company is legitimate with a good reputation, you will likely find its name on the ad or survey. At the same time, a company name is still no guarantee of legitimacy. However, when the ad shows no name at all, that’s a huge red flag that the survey could be a scam.
Look up the company’s BBB rating, if one exists. Type the company and/or survey name in a separate online search that includes the word “scam” for other people’s experiences with the company or specific survey.
Poor website design and functionality
Scam survey websites often have low-quality designs, contain spelling or grammatical errors, and have broken links. Legitimate survey companies invest in professional website design and ensure a smooth user experience.
Always check if the survey website is secure by looking for the padlock icon in the browser address bar. Secure websites have “https://” at the beginning of the URL, indicating that your data is encrypted and protected.
You can’t find contact information or an “about” page
Legitimate companies offer a means of contact beyond a generic e-mail address. If there is no “about” page with the company’s history, address, phone number and other information you can easily verify, there may be a shady reason for that omission.
Just as bad as no “about” page is one that tells only how great the company is and how much money you can make without explaining how that will happen. If you can’t call and ask questions, move on to a paid survey from a company that’s well-known and has a good reputation.
The domain is new
If the paid survey company’s domain name was created within the last year or just a few months ago, that doesn’t mean the survey is a scam, but it should give you reason to investigate further.
That’s because scammers like to move around and may change domain names when their scamming ways catch up to them. You can find out who owns a domain with a free search for domain name owners, creation date, update and other information on WHOis.net.
When you complete a pre-screening form asking for your e-mail, phone number, address, shopping habits, age, number in household and other pertinent information and never hear back, that doesn’t mean those facts went unnoticed. Scammers collect this information and sell it to marketing companies that bombard you with phone calls, e-mails or spam.
The company uses a free e-mail account
Not every company with a Gmail address is bad news. At the same time, a survey or marketing company without its name in the e-mail address or on the survey can’t be checked out for legitimacy.
That’s the way scammers like it, so stick with paid surveys with real companies you can look up on the BBB site.
The survey asks for private personal information
It’s one thing to ask your age range and whether you use a bank or a credit union. However, when survey questions delve into your bank and credit card company names, types of bank accounts or account numbers, those inquiries are flapping red flags.
Supplying financial accounts information, your social security number, birth date, health insurance ID or related information to an online survey makes you an easy target for identity theft. Don’t go there.
Negative reviews and complaints
Before engaging with a survey company, search for reviews and complaints online. If you come across multiple negative reviews or reports of scams, it’s best to avoid that company and look for more reputable options.
By staying vigilant and recognizing these red flags, you can protect yourself from potential scams and ensure that you engage with legitimate paid survey opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q:Are paid surveys a guaranteed source of income?
Q:Do I need to pay to participate in paid surveys?
Q:Can I trust the privacy policies of survey platforms?
Q:How much time should I dedicate to paid surveys?
Q:Are there other ways to earn rewards besides taking surveys?
In conclusion, paid surveys can be a legitimate and rewarding way to earn extra income and share your opinions. While scams exist within the industry, careful research and precautionary measures can help you distinguish between legitimate opportunities and fraudulent schemes. By managing expectations, maximizing your earnings, and safeguarding your personal information, you can navigate the world of paid surveys with confidence.
Published by Debt.com, LLC