How to Identify and Avoid Online Paid Survey Scams
In the current economy, many people are looking for ways to earn a little money on the side when they get home. A lot of people are turning to paid surveys. For years, corporations have recruited peop...
In the current economy, many people are looking for ways to earn a little money on the side when they get home. A lot of people are turning to paid surveys. For years, corporations have recruited people online to fill out surveys for the benefit of various businesses. This sort of market research is very valuable and the persons who purchase it pay high fees, however little of that is passed on to the actual people being surveyed. Still, a little money on the side is always good, right?
Rife with Scams
Like any "work at home" program, online paid survey programs are plagued with scams. People who are willing to be paid a dollar or less to spend ten minutes (or more) filling out a survey are generally desperate and therefore vulnerable. While most online paid surveys are legitimate, honest services, there are a few bad apples that can really hurt people.
Money Up Front
The most common scam related to online paid surveys is that the person administering the survey will demand an upfront payment. This is usually termed a "processing fee" or a "start up fee," and is usually small enough to where people will pay it without questioning, say $10-$30. The problem is that after this startup fee is paid, the customer receives no surveys, and may in fact find that their credit card or banking information has been stolen. Very few legitimate online survey programs require that money be put up front, since companies pay to have these surveys administered, and this payment is intended to cover all the costs of administering the survey. Persons administering this scam usually promise huge rewards such as large payouts for doing the survey or easily acquired gifts so as to sucker in companies.
Another scam, and one that is harder to detect, is a survey company that deliberately underpays the persons taking the survey. Because the person being surveyed is still paid for their efforts, this is generally not noticed by the person being surveyed, they simply notice that they are not getting paid very much. The only real way to detect and avoid these is to view forums and websites dedicated to making money by taking surveys, and see what other people have to say about the company. Companies that ask for too little pay for too much work usually stand out pretty well, and get lots of complaints.
But Only If You Try...
A third scam is to offer a survey, claiming their is a payout at the end, and then claim that the payout can only be claimed if the survey taker agrees to purchase a particular product or service, even if the survey has already been taken. Persons who do this are generally doing what is known as "affiliate selling," i.e. they are serving as a middleman to funnel people to new products and services and they get a commission for each successful new customer they generate. The survey is just there to lure people in and make them think they are doing something important, and the reward they receive is always minimal. It is, after all, coming out of the commission of the person administering the false survey!
Online surveys are a great way to make money just by voicing opinion, but there are many pitfalls. Luckily, it's almost always the same trap over and over again, and there are many forums where people discuss the surveys and sort the legitimate ones from the scams. This is why it is so important to take those few seconds to research the company or offer before filling out the survey!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Moni Arora has participated in many paid surveys, focus groups, and product tests. He has reviewed and gives his opinion on the best paid survey sites. For information check out Paid Surveys - Review of The Top 3 Paid Survey Sites