Taking surveys for money has quickly become one of the most popular and profitable side hustles for young people and those looking to add additional income to their budgets. However, it can be difficult to determine whether it’s safe to give out certain information to an online survey site. 

In this article, we will discuss how to protect your privacy with paid online surveys, how researchers and websites protect your privacy and the kind of information that’s okay to give away. 

Protecting Your Privacy Online

If you didn’t grow up with the Internet, protecting your personal data while doing things online might be a foreign concept to you. However, there are hackers all over the web who pose as legitimate organizations. And they will try and steal your personal data. 

Information like your credit card number, social security number, phone number, address, and more could be at risk if you don’t take careful measures to protect your data. While paid online surveys can be an excellent resource for making money, illegitimate sites can also cause many problems. 

What Are Paid Online Surveys?

An online survey is a type of research project where scientists or researchers query participants without having to call or see them in person. If you need to ask many different participants several questions at once, online surveys can be a great way to do this. Often, surveys are part of a research study, especially behavioral or communications-related studies. But big brands may also use them in product research, marketing, and other avenues. 

To participate in an online survey, you will likely answer a few demographics-related questions to make sure you qualify. Then a researcher will pose several other questions for you to answer. When you have completed the survey, you will typically earn a reward. Sometimes you will take surveys for cash. Other times, you might take surveys for gift cards. Either way, you will earn something of value for sharing your opinion. 

Why Do Online Surveys Ask for My Data?

There are a few different places and a few different reasons why an online survey site might ask for some of your personal data. At first, when you make an account on the site, you will likely need to set up a personal profile, which will require you to input some of your data. Additionally, each individual survey you take will have different requirements regarding personal data-related questions. So, you might need to input additional personal information at that point. 

In Your Profile

When you create an account with your chosen website(s), you will likely be asked a handful of personal data questions. This is a normal part of filling out your profile. It helps researchers match you with the right surveys and ensures you get paid. 

For the most part, if you are on a legitimate site, these questions will be perfectly fine to answer, and your data will not be at risk. In this section, you’ll usually be asked about your age, gender, race, sexual orientation, family/marital status, and other basic personal information. These questions will help to guide and filter the kinds of surveys you see on your home page based on what requirements match up with your demographic info.

In Survey Questions

Within survey questions, you might be asked a variety of different questions regarding your identity or experiences. Within the actual confines of a survey, as long as it is from a legitimate institution and/or researcher, you won’t need to worry much about that data being compromised. Researchers have strict requirements to keep all participant data private, so you can rest assured that it won’t be breached. 

Depending on the specific survey, you might be asked personal, deep, introspective, or potentially invasive questions. There is a purpose behind each question, but you can decline to participate at any time during the survey. If you’re uncomfortable with the questions being asked, you are never obligated to complete the survey. 

Will Researchers Keep My Data Private?

Researchers will absolutely keep your data private. One of the most critical requirements when conducting scientific research and experiments is to keep participant data anonymous or completely confidential. Most of the time, researchers won’t even know whose data is attached to whom.

Additionally, researchers have a lot on the line when they conduct scientific research, and breaching their contractual agreements to leak your information is probably at the absolute bottom of their list of things to do. For the most part, scientific researchers prioritize keeping their data sacred and the identity of their participants secret, so you won’t need to worry about them. 

Will Websites Protect My Information?

Legitimate survey websites are usually highly encrypted, have advanced security measures, and have a top priority to maintain the privacy of your data. However, if you accidentally get caught up using a website that is not legitimate and is out to sell your information, your data might be at risk. 

That’s why it’s so important to only work with the most trustworthy survey sites. To determine which sites are legitimate, check out websites like TrustPilot and other sources to see reviews from actual people who have used the site. 

Branded Surveys

Branded Surveys is one of the most popular and well-loved paid survey sites on the web, and it’s no secret why. They have been around for over a decade and have over 62,000 real user reviews on Trustpilot

Furthermore, Branded has highly secured encryption on its site to protect your data. And they consistently connect institutions and researchers with willing and eager participants to take their surveys for cold, hard cash. 

So, What Info Can I Give Away?

Now that we’ve discussed how to keep yourself safe online, it’s time to discuss the types of information that are usually safe to give away on legitimate survey websites. For the most part, this information will be regarding your demographic info, personal experiences, and identity. 

Demographic Info

Demographic information is pretty standard on survey sites, so it’s generally safe to give away. Standard demographic info like your name, age, gender, marital status, workplace, or the school you attend is actually info that’s probably readily available online through your Facebook page or other social media platforms. 

Survey sites might also ask you about your number of kids or siblings, sexual orientation, clothing size, whether or not you wear glasses, and other random questions. These seemingly strange questions help connect you with researchers looking for specific information. 

Personal Experiences

Many online surveys want to know about your experiences with different products, people, locations, services, websites, or more! If you have participated in or purchased something that a survey wants to know about, they will likely ask you about these experiences. This data is usually safe to give away, as it all comes down to personal opinion and usually doesn’t expose much about who you are as a person. 

What Info Should I NOT Give Away?

The most crucial information to safeguard is your personal financial account information. This includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive financial information. Legit survey sites will never ask you to reveal this type of data. 

Always Protect Your Privacy 

The most important thing about sharing your personal information online is protecting your privacy. Before you start loading your personal data into a website, do some digging to see what kind of encryption they use, what types of reviews they have, and how many active users they have on their site. If it looks sketchy, trust your gut and don’t use it. Your safety comes above everything else!