After several months of studying online survey sites, I discovered a disturbing pattern. Even the most reputable survey sites are risky. The truth is, surveys are a lousy way to make money.
Are Online Surveys a Scam? Yes, most online surveys are scams. The worst are those promising you can make a lot of money. That’s an absolute lie.
It’s impossible to earn a lot of money doing surveys. Most people don’t make any money at all with surveys.
In this article, I reveal several of the ways online survey sites scam you. Some of their methods are so subtle as to be almost invisible, other methods are far more noticeable, like getting your credit card maxed out or your identity stolen.
I explain all this in detail in a moment, but for now, let’s talk about greed. More often than not, when it comes to online scams, it is our greed that gets us in trouble.
Online Survey Scams and Our Greedy Little Brain.
Just for fun, play along with me as I take you on an imaginary adventure.
It begins with you, broke and struggling. It happens. I’ve been there more than once.
You need cash, so you go online searching for ways to make money and find a website that promises you can make $75 per survey.
Wow! $75 per survey! Immediately, that greedy spot in your brain heats up. You take out a calculator. What if you did ten surveys a day and worked five days a week? That’s $3,700 a week, $15,000 a month, $180,000 a year! If you worked six days a week, you’d earn $216,000 a year!
You think I could live on that.
Suddenly the future looks bright. You’re not depressed anymore. You decide to trade your clunker 1976 Yugo with bald tires in for a Lamborghini and a new girlfriend.
Whoa! Hold on, partner! Do you see what just happened? You went full tilt into fantasy land.
Greed is one of our most powerful emotions.
When we feel greed, the logical part of our brain shuts down. At that point, it’s impossible for us to make a good decision and it becomes highly probable that we will make a stupid mistake.
Salespeople know this. Advertisers know this. Copywriters know this and casinos know this too. It’s why they relentlessly pound our greed buttons to make us buy stuff we don’t need and can’t afford or to gamble away the rent money.
Scammers know this too. Scams begin with greed.
When a survey website promises you’ll make a lot of money, you know it’s a scam. Most survey sites don’t pay anything at all and the ones that do pay only pennies.
Two Types of Online Survey Sites.
There are two types of survey sites online. The first type is the “so-called” legitimate research company that genuinely seeks market information. The legitimate research survey sites are few and far between.
The second type of online survey site is a marketing company that uses the deception of surveys to get you to buy products and services or to get your personal information which they sell to other marketing companies who then try to sell you stuff.
Both types of survey sites pose risks.
How Much Can You Earn with Online Surveys?
So-called legitimate research oriented survey sites usually do not pay cash. Instead, they have a point system and give points for each survey or task completed to their satisfaction.
These points have no cash value.
Once you have accumulated the minimum points, you may be able to use these points to purchase something from the site’s catalog or to get a gift card.
However, most “legitimate” online survey sites offer only sweepstakes. That is after you have accumulated the minimum points, you are entered into sweepstakes where you are eligible to win a prize or cash.
That’s about as good as it gets.
With the other type of online survey site, the marketing company pretending to be a survey site, you won’t make anything at all. In fact, you will probably lose money.
Both types of online survey sites can terminate your membership at any time for no reason. It is common for online survey websites to terminate a member’s account just before they reach the minimum payout amount, thus avoiding paying them anything.
Positive Reviews of Survey Sites.
Many survey websites, especially the scammy ones, offer a bounty for new members. Every positive review I’ve read about a survey site has an affiliate link in it. If you click on that link and join the survey site, the reviewer earns a commission.
A positive review about a survey site is usually nothing more than a sneaky sales pitch.
How to Spot a Survey Scam.
Instead of listing known scam survey sites which often change, I think it is more helpful to show you how to spot a survey scam.
I’ll begin with the mildly evil scam and progress to the full-blown ruin your life scam.
The Email Address Thief Scam.
Some sites pretending to be an online survey company are only after your email address. You join by giving them your name and email address, and that’s the end of it.
You never hear from them again because they got what they wanted and have sold your email address far and wide across the internet. A tsunami of spam is on its way to your inbox.
A variation of this is to ask for your phone number too, in which case, in addition to a relentless barrage of spam in your inbox, you will also be treated to annoying telemarketers calling you at all hours of the day and night.
The Qualifying Survey Scam.
Many of the “so-called” legitimate survey sites use this trick to avoid paying for the information you give them.
Before you can take a survey, you must fill out a questionnaire to determine if you qualify for that survey. After you fill out the questionnaire, you discover you do not qualify for the survey and so do not earn any points.
There never was a survey. Or, more accurately, the questionnaire WAS the survey. The survey company got the information they wanted without paying for it.
The Trial Offers Scam.
A marketing company pretending to be a survey company presents a survey for you to complete. After you complete the survey, you are directed to participate in a free trial and promised you will earn some cash if you do.
For the sake of this example, let’s say you are promised $10 for participating in the free trial.
You sign up for the free trial which requires that you give them your credit card information. Because you don’t want your credit card to be charged, you try to cancel the free trial before your card is billed.
At this point, several things might happen. You find you can’t cancel in time because the survey company prevents you from canceling and your card is billed. Or, you do cancel in time but are not paid the $10 because the fine print says you will only be paid if the trial offer results in a purchase.
The survey/marketing company is paid a commission the moment you sign up for a trial offer. If your trial offer converts to a sale, the survey/marketing company makes a bigger commission.
If they pay you the promised $10, it is a small percentage of the commission they made off of you. In other words, you spent a $100 and they gave you back $10. That’s not making money.
In most cases, they won’t pay you anything at all. Remember, the survey you filled out when you started down this scammy path was just a ploy to get you to the trial offer.
The Fake Points Scam.
You joined a survey site, completed a survey and were awarded 20,000 points immediately. You’re rich in points! That was easy.
You are eligible to redeem these points for products in the company catalog. Looking through the company’s online catalog, you find a digital camera for 18,000 points, plus $4.99 for shipping. You’ve seen that exact camera at the mall for $100.
You can’t believe it and call the number to redeem your points and get the camera. Easy peasy. You give them your credit card info to cover the $4.99 shipping charge.
A week later, the camera arrives, and all is well. You brag to your friends about the deal you got.
And then, about a month later, the credit card bill comes in the mail, and there is a $98 charge from this company on it. You call the credit card company as there must be some mistake.
There is no mistake.
Somewhere in your blind excitement about getting the camera, you unknowingly agreed to join a buyer’s club for $98 a month for two years! There’s nothing you can do about it. Your credit card will be billed $98 a month for the next 24 months. Ouch!
Loss of Personal Information.
The scammy online survey companies will blatantly steal your personal information, but there is a risk with the “so-called” legitimate survey companies too.
There is no guarantee that the information you give a survey company is safe.
Are Surveys Safe? Are Online Surveys Worth It?
Forget the bogus promises of making $75 per survey. That’s a lie.
At best, with a “so-called” legitimate survey site that pays cash, you might earn $10 month if you work hard at completing a lot of surveys.
The truth is you probably won’t receive enough surveys to earn that much, or you won’t qualify for enough surveys to earn that much, but let’s say you do.
You earn $10 a month. That’s the best scenario.
Is it worth $10 a month to compromise your privacy?
The worst case scenario is your identity is stolen, and your credit card is maxed out. That sort of thing could destroy your life.
Online surveys are horribly time-consuming, risky and pay nothing. If you want to make money online, learn how to do it right.
A Better Option for You.
If you are researching online surveys because you want to find a legitimate way to make money online, I recommend that you consider affiliate marketing. If you get the proper training and support, affiliate marketing can be extremely profitable.
Affiliate marketing is not difficult. However, like any legitimate business, it does require commitment and patience to be successful.
The key again is proper training and support. That’s why I recommend the FREE starter level of the Online Entrepreneur Certification Course.
Also, if you signup for the FREE starter level of the Online Entrepreneur Certification Course through any link on this website, I’ll coach you one-on-one for FREE.
To Learn More, Click Here.
If you found this article helpful or have experience with online surveys, please leave a comment below.