Many people ask, “How can I keep my personal information safe on survey sites?”.

The public is worried about this, which is understandable. Unfortunately, survey panels are not always legitimate or dedicated to protecting their members’ privacy. In fact, in some cases, they are downright suspicious. It’s nearly 2022, yet there are still widespread concerns about online survey companies’ data collection, phishing, and shady payment procedures. 

Because of this, it’s vital that those who want to get paid to take surveys ensure that the experience is not only enjoyable but completely safe and secure. In this post, we talk about some of the more prevalent online survey scams you may encounter and how you can avoid them. 

Plus, we will arm you with everything you need to know before signing up with any survey site. And we’ll give you our recommendation for a safe and trusted place where you can actually make money online and avoid scams.

Online Survey Scams

Here are a few of the most common online survey scams in circulation:

Phishing scams 

Phishing scams are one of the ways online criminals steal people’s personal information and are probably the most common scam out there. These scammers use legitimate-looking emails to try and trick you into providing your bank account, credit card, or email logins so they can access these accounts.  

The worst part about this scam is that it is designed to copy a genuine website, so it looks like you are logging in to something you are already familiar with. But then, it takes you to a fake version that collects your info.

They’re quite tricky. As it relates to survey sites, The correspondence appears to come from a legit survey company—maybe even one you already work with. They copy the logo and send you an email (phishing for information) stating that there is a problem with your account or even that you have won something from the survey site. You log in to the “fake” site with your user id and password, and boom! Now the scammers can sign into the actual site and steal any information you’ve provided to the survey company already.

The Big Money Scam

This scam is one you are probably already familiar with and notice regularly. You see an advertisement or pop-up for a “survey site” promising you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars a day just for answering simple surveys.

You figure there is no harm in signing up just to see what this is all about, right? The problem is that if you sign up, now the company has your email account and user id or password that you may already use for other sites. Plus, if they can get you to complete some quick profile surveys, they will have all the demographics they need for identity theft—your full name, phone number, home address, birthday, how many children you have, etc. 

Of course, there are no $100 surveys to take, and it’s all just a hoax. While it seems harmless enough, the scammers will then sell all that personal information to the highest bidder. In the end, who knows who could end up with your private data?

The Exclusive Membership Scam

This type of scam works similar to the Big Money Scam, except that you even part with a little bit of cash, too. The scammers invite you to an exclusive “members only” survey site where you can earn large amounts of money for each survey you take. They claim to have a limited number of spots available for membership, and you have been chosen to participate.

This scam is surprisingly effective because it’s flattering. Who doesn’t want to be chosen for something exclusive—something not just “anyone” can join? 

The scam site will go on to steal all your data, just as with the Big Money Scam, but they also typically charge you an upfront membership fee. It could be just a small amount to “activate” your account —a dollar or two—but they are the ones laughing all the way to the bank after scamming several thousand people. And that exclusive survey site? It never even existed.

The Nigerian Scam

The Nigerian scam (also called the 419 scam) typically involves an email sent out by someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince who needs help getting their hands on some lost funds. To collect said funds, they ask for your help in transferring a certain amount of money out of the country. But, of course, this is all a ploy to scam you out of your money.

There are many variations on the Nigerian Scam, and contrary to the name, they do not just originate in Nigeria. As this scam relates to survey sites, you may receive a check in the mail asking you to take part in a survey, mystery shopping, or product testing job. 

The check will accompany a letter that provides instructions to wire some of the money from the check to a Western Union account or a similar transaction. You can keep the remainder of the funds in exchange for this task, which is usually a substantial amount.

No matter how enticing it may be to get a check in the mail for thousands of dollars from a survey company, there is no way it is legitimate. You should destroy the check, as it will bounce shortly after depositing it into your account and leave you holding the bag for any fines accrued. 

Paid Surveys: A Top Way to Make Money Online

Despite all the scam sites, there are still ways to earn money from surveys online, as long as you align yourself with the right company. Plus, paid survey sites can help you reach your goals if you need to earn money fast. Some other advantages include:

Sign-up is easy. It takes less than five minutes. Once you select a legit site, all you need to do is confirm your email, choose a username and password, and you’re in. 

You don’t need any prior experience, special skills, or qualifications to complete paid online surveys. It doesn’t matter if you have a Ph.D. in philosophy or you didn’t even finish high school. Survey sites need members from all walks of life, and everyone is treated as equals.

There are no interviews or resumes needed to “get hired.” You don’t even need to take a test or undergo preliminary training. You can get started immediately. 

You can take surveys from anywhere, as long as you have a smartphone, tablet, or computer and internet access. Are you often between classes, on lunch break, or sitting in a waiting room? These are ideal times to squeeze in a survey or two and make some money, turning completely unproductive time into something that benefits you and your family. 

You can do surveys any time you want, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, all year long. Survey sites don’t close, so if you want to take a survey at two am when you can’t sleep, go for it. You can also come and go as you please. Work for 10 minutes a day or two hours a day. Take a break from surveys, and they will be there when you decide to come back. 

There will be multiple, straightforward ways to withdraw your earnings with the right site. For example, at Branded Surveys, you can opt to get paid via Paypal or direct withdrawal to your bank account. In addition, you can choose from dozens of gift cards from retailers all over the country, including earning Amazon gift cards.

How To Protect Your Data When Taking Surveys

We’ve pointed out some of the most common survey scams and given you the benefits of using paid online surveys as a way to make a little extra cash. So, what can you do to protect your data when taking surveys?

You’ve probably gathered by now that there are far more scam sites than legit survey sites. However, reputable survey companies exist, and it’s terrific when you find the right one. We recommend Branded Surveys. Owned by parent company Branded Research, this site has been operating for quite some time (nearly a decade) and knows a lot about privacy. Their success depends on the happiness and safety of their two million members! 

Here is what you can expect at Branded Surveys and what you must look for in any survey site you are considering:

1. They Have a Website Privacy Policy

You need to look for a company that takes privacy seriously, not just some fly-by-night website. At Branded, you can view the site’s Website Privacy Policy before you even sign up. Within that policy, you can access a full rundown on everything the company does with your information, including:

  • The type of information collected from users
  • Information about “Cookies”
  • How the information members provide is used
  • Any third-party information that they may collect
  • An explanation of the Privacy Shield Principles they abide by
  • Your legal rights and obligations 
  • How your data is stored
  • What the company does with data related to minors
  • How to opt-out of your membership

2. They Have Accurate and Up-to-Date Contact Information

How difficult is it when you have questions or concerns, and there is no way to get in touch with a real person to help you? It’s frustrating! So you always want to double-check and make sure that any survey site you join has accurate and current contact information.

At Branded, you can find this contact information on the Website Privacy Policy page as well, and it includes the name of the company, who to contact, the physical address, and an email address.

3. They Have Genuine User Reviews

You’ll also want to look at the reviews a survey company may have. If they have no reviews, or most of them are negative, that should be a red flag to stay away. 

For example, Branded Surveys has over 45,000 honest user reviews on Trustpilot. Plus, they have a rating of excellent. Additionally, the company has active and current social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) where users and potential members receive timely and professional responses to their questions and concerns.

Another cool thing about Branded is the honest YouTube Reviews created by several users. Here are just a few:

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of ways to get scammed online. When you’re trying to make money doing surveys, the last thing you need is to have your data at risk. By being aware of the various methods cybercriminals use to steal your information and profit from it, you gain the upper hand. And by ensuring that the survey company you are considering working with is a legit, established business, you can avoid identity theft and a host of other problems. Join our community at Branded Surveys, where you can make extra cash and still protect your data online.