Learn to Avoid Scam Survey Sites
Online Surveys - Money to be Made or A Waste of Time?
There are lots of flashing and blinking banners online offering up to £50 per survey but beware of them! Taking online surveys is not a get rich quick scheme and while you can earn a modest amount, it will certainly not be enough to supplement a full time job. So it is important to carefully choose the survey sites you sign up to and learning how to spot (and ultimately avoid) the gimmicky sites that can easily take up your valuable time for virtually no reward.
How to Spot Signs Something Isn't Right
The best place to start is with an internet search for survey companies. But while you will be inundated with page after page of survey companies offering to help you to make loads of money it's important to pick a reliable and genuine site. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
So, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
Firstly, using your own common sense will alert you to some of the more obvious scams. However, fine tuning your radar to the more insidious methods of being sucked into these scam sites will help to steer you clear of the pitfalls. The following list of possible scams should also help you to spot the warning signs early on:
All that Glitters is not Gold:
While there are occasions where some surveys could pay you a large amount of money, say £5 for one survey, this is rare. It would largely depend on the length of the survey paired with an allowance for the intensity of such a questionnaire. Surveys such as this are not the norm, though they do occasionally arise.
If the survey company seems to be offering regular £50 surveys, they are probably not legitimate.
If you're still unsure about what they're offering, search the internet for reviews written by survey panels' members, if someone's been scammed, they're not likely to keep quiet about it!
Payment for registration:
Any site that offers to search for or select the most lucrative survey sites for you in return for a one-off fee is most definitely a scam! Legitimate survey sites are not part of some secret organisation that only a few sources have access to - quite the reverse. The aim of market research in general is to reach as wide an audience as possible in order that the widest and most varied of results can be achieved. Therefore, why would you need to find these sites via a special source? You don't. An internet search will throw up an endless supply of results for you, and what's more, it's free. As you get to know other survey takers via panels and forums, you may find that referrals to other trusted sites will come your way too.
Every survey company requires a certain amount of profile information from you - name, address, date of birth, ethnic origin, sex, family situation, etc are all important factors when determining who to send survey invitations to. In some situations you may feel like the profile questions go on forever. i.e. if you are being asked what type of music you like, what books you read, etc, then these are pretty harmless questions that help survey companies to group you with others in your demographic. However, if you come across questions that seem too probing, such as asking you to supply your bank or credit card details, your national insurance number or exact dates you expect to be away on holiday, then don't ignore those alarm bells - you will never have to provide this information to a reputable survey company.
Shut Down or Sign Up?
It may be exciting to come across the sites that offer you upwards of £50 for doing relatively little - but there will always be a catch and you don't want to spend time chasing payments or rewards that you are never going to receive. As well as fine tuning your brain to think before you sign up to some of these sites, the following are some clear indicators of what you should avoid:
The promise of a generous reward for a one-off survey usually comes with a catch and you might find that you are chasing your reward for a long time after you've completed the survey with no guarantee of ever receiving payment. In fact, all you are likely to receive after doing one of these surveys is an endless supply of spam mail!
Taking surveys to qualify for testing gadgets:
Testing the latest smartphone or tablet might look like it's a fantastic opportunity, but be careful that you are not duped into downloading a manual to go with the gadget - a manual that might cost you upwards of £25. Besides, in some of these cases, your card details may be at risk too.
Surveys that require downloads:
This is one area where you need to exercise extreme caution - sometimes, downloading what might seem to be pretty harmless information collecting software can often mean that your computer becomes compromised. Worse still, if you've chosen a disreputable site, your personal information could also be at risk.
Don't Take your Eye off the Ball!
So, you've been taking surveys for a while now and you've enjoyed the rewards, the opportunities, meeting new people online and being referred to other interesting sites; but there are some further potential pitfalls to look out for once you've established yourself. For instance, rushing through surveys or trying to complete some surveys more than once in order to bump up your rewards - in the same way that you want to be aware of any scams, survey companies will not tolerate certain things from their members. Don't be tempted to use methods that could be deemed to be cheating as you could find yourself blacklisted.
Taking part in online surveys is both interesting and fun, as well as being a relatively easy means of earning some extra cash. Arming yourself with the facts about which sites are good and which ones to avoid will make it safer, and even more rewarding in the long run.