Falling Victim to a Survey Scam

Nobody wants to fall victim to a scam yet people do all the time. There are some precautions you can take when signing up as a member of survey companies – we’ll tell you what to do and what to look out for.

The Internet Follows Few Rules

The internet is still like the wild-west in many ways: there isn’t much of a Sheriff in town and even when one does makes an appearance, they don’t last for very long. The web doesn’t have any borders, and is only now starting to face some government intervention. This free for all creates a marketplace where everyone from the shadiest characters to the most reputable players compete in the same space. In the world of online surveys this means that although there are plenty of highly respected market research companies who operate online panels, there are still plenty of websites that use online surveys as an excuse to obtain credit card numbers, or to sell the information users provide to them. These practices are often referred to as “survey scams”.

How to Protect Against Survey Scams

don't fall for a scamFirst, always do your research! Before signing up with a survey company, make sure that they are in fact genuine; look for a well-written privacy policy on their website and check to see if they are a member of any market research associations. The survey panel websites listed on our PaidSurveysUK surveys list have all been reviewed to verify that they are indeed legitimate and run by true market research companies, so by using our website, most of the work is already done for you!

Once you’ve done your research and have verified the authenticity of a survey panel, provide your true contact information to the panel, but set up an email address specifically for your online surveys stuff, and provide this address when you’re registering. This way, your email account always stays safe (even if you encounter a survey scam) and staying organized with online survey invitations becomes much easier.

Kicking it Up a Notch

If you sign up with a survey company and in the off-chance you have a problem collecting a reward, make sure to contact them and describe your problem in as much detail as possible. If you’ve taken a survey and were not credited for it, provide your email account that you used to register with the website as well as the survey number of the survey in question, as well as any confirmation messages, error messages, or any other useful information you can provide.

If emailing the survey company does not yield any results, try giving them a call. On PaidSurveysUK, you can find a phone number for almost all of the survey companies listed on our website. Simply visit the profile page of the survey company in question (for example, Consumer-Opinion.com), scroll to the bottom of the page, and there you will find a phone number to give them a call.

When All Else Fails

If you still have a problem with a survey company, a last ditch resort is post a review of your experiences on websites like SurveyPolice. SurveyPolice is read by thousands of people interested in online surveys and by relaying your experiences with a survey company, you help online survey newbies decide which survey panels are best to join and which to stay away from and are possible scams. Refrain from using websites like SurveyPolice as a forum to only vent your frustrations; remember that leaving a positive review is in many ways even more helpful than leaving a negative one. Advising fellow survey takers on which survey companies you’ve had success with is more useful than simply stating that Company A and B are terrible. Sharing your success with Company C helps fellow survey takers find a company they can trust and helps Company C become more successful, which can mean more surveys for you!

If a survey company is a member of the BBB, you can also try filing a complaint with them. If you’ve accidentally fallen prey to a survey scam, try using the RipOffReport to communicate your experiences.

A Final Word

Most online survey companies are NOT scams. Scams typically involve a victim who has been defrauded (usually of money) and legitimate market research companies do not do this. They have a code of ethics and guidelines to adhere to set out by market research associations and can also be influenced by government policy. In any case, nobody wants to fall victim to dishonest websites prying for confidential information. By conducting your own background research and aiming for quality survey companies over quality, you will find that taking online surveys can be not a positive experience, but also a very rewarding one.

Want to take surveys? Get a 100% free list of online survey companies in the UK here.

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