Our last article discussed the idea of earning money through paid online surveys, where you get paid in the form of cash or a gift in return for sharing your opinions and preferences about consumer interests. Most survey sites that pay for your opinion are legitimate but some are scams, that can breach your privacy and infect your computer, which is why today’s article shares some risks and signs of frauds/scams that are associated with using online surveys sites to get paid.

1. The offer is too good to be true

Most online survey sites are looking for users that live in specific geographical areas, which mostly cover different parts of the developed world. If you do not live in North America, Europe or Australia, your chances of finding an online survey that pays well, or an online survey at all, are pretty slim.

So if you live in India or Bangladesh and come across an online survey site that promises to pay you cash, then please approach the site with caution because it could all be a scam.

Similarly, the website may claim to pay you loads of money to complete surveys, perhaps $50, perhaps more. Some ads for paid online survey sites claim you can make thousands of dollars by filling out random surveys. This is an exaggeration and not at all true. Most surveys usually pay a few cents to a couple of dollars per online survey, so following the math just doesn’t add up.

2. The reward policy is not crystal clear

If the online survey site promises to pay you cash in return for each form you fill out, check the minimum payout threshold, which is usually close to $20. Some sites allow you to accumulate reward points that can be redeemed against actual products from a catalog, gift cards, e-certificates and vouchers. Make sure you know exactly what you will receive and when you will receive it before committing too much time to completing online surveys in an effort to earn some cash.

3. An upfront payment is charged to register at the online survey site

All survey sites I know of allow consumers to register for free, which means no form of investment is made in order to earn money through survey sites. At the same time, if the survey site requests your credit card information, step away because it could be another scam.

4. The privacy policy does not guarantee the safety of your personal data

While it is obvious that the data these online sites gather in return for cash is sent away to the actual companies that sponsor those surveys, your personal identifiable data should never be shared with third parties because that is a breach of privacy. If you wish to further protect yourself and your privacy, setup a separate email account specifically for the sake of online survey site so any spam can go directly to that account.

5. Check the survey site’s reputation before registering

Many online survey sites are legitimate and actually pay you money or give out gifts in return for your opinions, but there are also lots of fraudulent sites that exist to gather personal data, spread malware and possibly download viruses on to your computer. Be proactive and look for reviews of any survey site you wish to use in order to protect yourself.

Yes, earning money through online surveys is easy but it doesn’t come without its own share of pitfalls and risks. Make informed decisions and you’re all set.

6. You are forced to sign up to the survey site

Often, when browsing online for topics related to earning money, you may be promised a bit of relevant information if you first sign up to a ‘paid survey’ service. These kinds of baits are a warning sign that you’re about to sign up to a fake survey site that may scam you. Authentic paid surveys never force you to sign up to their service because users rush over to them on their own.

7. You are asked to buy list of paid surveys

Another red flag is when you are asked to pay money to get an “authentic” list of websites that pay you to fill out surveys. Again, paid survey sites are free and their names are easily available at numerous websites that share how to earn money through surveys.

In short, use caution. It’s not possible to earn a lot of money through online surveys but at the end of the day, if you have a bit of spare time, you can use it to make a few bucks.