Survey scams are almost as old as the internet. Spend an hour online and there’s a chance you’ll run into an ad for a “quick” survey promising big money or prizes for a few minutes of your time. What really happens is that the scammer walks away with a free survey, or worse, your information or money. The wary consumer can spot a survey scam, but unfortunately, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated at luring victims into their schemes. Don’t fall for it!
Here are seven ways to spot a survey scam:
1. You’re asked to pay to participate in a survey – There’s no reason to pay to take a survey. If you’re targeted by an ad asking you to take a survey and pay for the privilege of doing so, it’s not worth it – and probably designed to scam you.
2. You’re asked to share sensitive info before you can take the survey – The survey host wants you to think it’s no big deal for you to share your Social Security number with a company you’ve never heard of before. But guess what – you’re looking at potential identity theft. That IS a big deal!
3. They advertise on Craigslist and similar sites asking for your email address – “Survey companies” that advertise on sites like Craigslist asking you to share your email address are usually fronts for scam rings. Once they have this information, they’ll spam you with scammy emails, phishing schemes, malware or worse.
4. They offer too much money – If a survey is offering you $100 for a 20-question survey that shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to complete, you can be sure you’re looking at a scam. The pay for authentic survey-taking is generally on a much more modest scale.
5. You’re directed to download attachments – Any time an unknown contact asks you to download attachments to your device, be super-suspicious. More often than not, these are scams and the attachments are loaded with malware.
6. They advertise aggressively – If the same solicitation for survey participation keeps popping up across your screen, you may be looking at a scam.
7. They require an outrageous minimum before payment – Scammers sometimes require their targets to take an outrageous number of surveys before they receive their first paycheck. Often, the victim will just quit before they qualify for a payment.
Survey-taking can be a great way to earn some pocket money, but survey scams are rampant. Follow these tips to stay safe!