As the internet grows in size and popularity, so does the fear that a scammer is just around the corner. Although e-mails announcing your entitlement of millions (or perhaps even billions) of pounds due to a non-existent member of royalty’s death persist, most scams on the internet still fall under such an obvious radar.
These types of scams are ones where scammers pretend to be a trustworthy company (usually via e-mail), and attempt to acquire sensitive and personal information such as usernames, passwords, address details, and more. Legitimate survey companies are often targeted by these scammers and their logo and contact information is used in e-mail correspondence in an attempt to “phish” for information from users.
Warning signs include: poor spelling and grammar in the e-mail, links that do not point to the survey company’s website, e-mails being flagged by your e-mail provider, being contacted unexpectedly to “confirm your account”.
It’s not uncommon to receive a large unexpected cheque in the mail from a survey company. The trouble is, it’s a fake! No matter how convincing it looks, the cheque will bounce. If you get a cheque for more than 1000 pounds, you can be assured it is not real. In fact, anytime you receive an unexpected cheque in the mail, question its authenticity. The cheque will often be accompanied by a letter which will provide instructions on wiring money to a Western Union account. This should fire off warning bells immediately, even if you’re already a member of the survey company referenced in the letter. If you receive a letter like this, alert your local authorities immediately.
Warning signs include: unexpected cheque for a large sum of money, instructions to wire money, subject matter such as “mystery shopping assignment”, multiple logos of companies shown in letter, poor spelling and grammar in letter.
Information Not Kept Private
When becoming a new member of an online survey panel, it’s important to ensure that you’re actually joining a website that is run by a market research company, and not that of a marketing company. The difference may seem subtle, but in reality, is huge.
Marketing companies are the ones you have to look out for. They do not actually conduct any surveys, and will simply take your information and sell it to one or many third parties. When you hear people talk about how their inbox was inundated with SPAM after signing up for surveys, you know that they mistakenly signed up with one of these companies. The good news is that these types of websites are easy to spot.
Market research companies are run by true researchers who conduct real surveys and take the results very seriously. Your information will never be sold to a third party, as their memberships to various market research organizations will ensure this. These companies often run multiple survey panels in different countries, and have a corporate website where you can find more about the company itself.
How to Proceed Without Worry
As long as the survey website you decide to become a member of is legitimate, there’s nothing to worry about. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to keep yourself safe:
- Don’t sign up with a new survey company who has contacted you by e-mail
- Do find ones on your own to join via websites like ours, PaidSurveysUK, that host a list of legitimate panels
- Don’t fall for a Nigerian scam if you receive an unexpected check in the mail
- Do report such scams to your local authorities
- Don’t be naive and trust everyone online
By following these steps, you can put your mind at ease and concentrate fully on taking rewarding online surveys!