Earning money by taking paid online surveys is an appealing idea. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid for answering a simple questionnaire? Paid surveys are very popular thanks to the ease at which anyone can start earning free money right away.

In the world of market research, survey sites play an essential role. They help brands gather data, target advertising, test new products and services, and more. It is much harder for big companies to know what their customers want and need without this information.

So yes, you can do surveys for money, legit sites are out there, and they offer people a real chance to earn some spare cash. The problem is that fake sites exist in droves as well. Their presence has given surveys a bad name in general. Because of this, it is becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between a scam site and a legit survey opportunity.

This article will teach you how to spot scammers and detect fake survey sites a mile away. That way, you will go into any paid survey opportunity armed with the knowledge you need to determine if it’s the real deal or not. 

What Is the Point of a “Fake” Survey Site?

What is the purpose of a fake survey site, anyhow? To understand how to spot a scam site, it’s important to know why they exist in the first place. Like many other deceptions, it all comes down to money. The two most prominent types of fraudulent sites aim to do one of two things:

  • Lure you in with the idea that you are joining a survey site, when in fact, they will actually try to sell you other services or goods.
  • Try to get you to pay a membership fee to join the site, with the promise you will make a substantial amount of money.

In the first instance, the site makes money off any products you purchase from them. In the second case, the site makes money off the membership fee. In both cases, you end up being the loser. 

Another type of survey site exists solely to obtain your personal information and sell it to a third party. We all have experienced this one way or another. For those who have done a lot of searching for work-at-home jobs or ways to make money online, this scam can be particularly insidious. 

Here’s how it works: You innocently sign up on a sales funnel to get “more information” about some new opportunity. Perhaps you input your name, phone number, and email address. You may even go as far as providing your physical address and other information. The idea is that you will get something in return, and perhaps you do.

The flip side of this coin is what spam inboxes were made for. You start getting all sorts of unsolicited emails or telemarketing calls you never signed up for. That’s because the original company has sold your information (and thousands of other people’s data, too) to a third party. Your data can continue to circulate and be resold for years and years in this way.

The only way to stop this from happening is never to give out your information unless you are confident of the source. Of course, it’s impossible to keep this from happening 100 percent of the time. Have you ever seen one of those messages saying, “Don’t worry, we do not sell your data to a third party?” Consider this your warning: Scammers lie. Of course they sell your data! How else would they make money?

As a side note, legit online surveys for money do exist, and there are many organizations and businesses with integrity that will not sell your personal information. Still, it’s always good to err on the side of caution.

How to Spot a Scam Survey Site

Just reading about scam sites can be enough to keep you away from survey sites in general. However, armed with a bit of knowledge, you can protect your wallet and your identity. Here’s how to spot a fake survey company:

1. Scam Survey Sites Promise More Than They Can Deliver

If you’ve ever looked for ways to make money online, you’ve probably seen the ads: “Work from home and earn $100 for every survey you answer.” or “Congratulations! You are our 200th visitor! Earn a $1000 Amazon gift card just for answering a few quick questions!” When you see these ads, you can already hear alarm bells going off in your head somewhere, but you want the claims to be valid. Perhaps you input a little information just to check it out, and bam! They’ve got your name and email address.

The bottom line here is don’t fall for any opportunity promising unrealistic earnings for little or no effort. Think about it. Can a legit survey company really offer ALL of its new users $100 per survey? It’s not sustainable. They would go broke in the first 24 hours of business.

Legit paid online surveys do not lure you in with promises of big money and wealth. Instead, they work with market research firms to offer their users a small amount of compensation for their time. Typically, this works out to between $0.50 to $3.00 per survey. Will you get rich taking surveys at home? Nope. But can you earn a decent amount of extra spending money? Absolutely.

2. Scam Survey Sites Often Ask You To Pay a Membership Fee

Another trick that fraudulent sites use to make money is to promote the idea that they are exclusive and hard to get into; therefore, only a particular type of individual is selected to join as a member. They ask you to pay a fee to be a part of their elite site so you can start taking high-paying surveys for cash.

Again, please don’t fall for it. If you do, you will not only lose your investment, but you will also be giving away your information for scammers to sell and make even more money off you. Legitimate survey sites will never ask you for money. Even if the fee is marginal—like a dollar, for example—they are still making money by offering this same opportunity to thousands of people. Real survey sites are the ones that will be paying you. It never works the other way around. 

3. Scam Survey Sites Have Sketchy Contact Information

Do some in-depth investigating of a potential scam site. You will discover that the domain information from ICANN is usually not up-to-date or is entirely non-existent. They may provide a phone number, but it doesn’t work or goes directly to a generic answering machine. Or they post a vague address such as New York, NY. 

Legit survey sites will always post their contact information prominently on the website, and those with a good reputation will offer multiple ways for users to get in touch. This may include phone numbers, an actual physical address, a robust support ticket system, chat feature, or other contact information. 

4. Scam Survey Sites Have Bad Reviews

The great thing about the internet is that you can find reviews on nearly any product, business, or survey before choosing to do business with them. Visiting trusted review sites before you sign up will reveal some terrible user reviews for most scam sites.

On the other hand, these same sites can be a source of pride for legitimate survey sites that operate on the up and up since it offers proof to new users that the site is a legit, paying operation. 

How To Find A Legit Paid Survey Site

So you’ve decided you want to try your hand at online surveys, but you want to avoid getting involved with a scam site. What should you do? How do you go about finding the best survey site to make some extra cash?

The first thing to do is a little research. You don’t need to spend hours or comb through a needle in a haystack to find the best survey site. All you need to do is look at past and current user reviews to verify that a site is legit and that they pay like they claim they do.

Branded Surveys is one such site. They offer their users fair compensation for completing each survey, and they pay participants with cash via PayPal or Branded Pay. Plus, you can even earn gift cards online for taking surveys on Branded. If you decide you like it, they have several fantastic systems in place that will allow you to make even more, depending on the number of surveys you take each month.

Well-Reviewed by Other Users

Is Branded Surveys all it’s cracked up to be? It seems to be, considering that this site has over 35,000 user reviews and is rated excellent on Trustpilot. This is remarkable, considering that Trustpilot was designed as an independent and neutral platform to provide consumers with real-time reviews from people just like them.

Accurate Contact Information Is Available

Head over to ICANN and look up the domain name for Branded Surveys. In this case, the data reveals a real US address, a registry domain ID, the name and type of the registration, and even the date the company established the domain name.

And if you visit the Branded Surveys Website, you will discover a contact page to get in touch with a real person via email. Additionally, once you have signed up at Branded, you can access support from your survey dashboard on the inside.