While there are a number of legitimate market research companies out there who are genuinely interested in your opinions as valuable consumer insight, there are also a number of scammers online who promise you loads of money for doing surveys, but in fact are duping people by robbing them of their time or money or alternatively aiming to fill your PC with tons of nasty spam and malware.
The following guide by respected UK market research company Crowdology (Click Here to learn more about their above-board paid online surveys) sheds light on the scammer red flags that you should avoid at all cost.
No Contact Information, FAQ or Terms of Conditions
The first thing you should do when you arrive at a survey site is to have a browse through their pages and make sure they have contact details which include both telephone and email. If not, they are either scammer looking to get your information without paying you, or they are very low brow and not to be trusted. If you're unsure of the company, do send them an email or if they're local a call - if they don't answer then it is a dodgy enterprise one way or another.
Likewise, any respectable company will have a FAQ page listing all the ins and outs clearly (such as how you will get paid) as well as their legal Terms and Conditions. Avoid them if these details are not present on their website.
Asking You for Money
The entire point of doing online surveys is that you are given money or other incentives in exchange for your honest opinions as a consumer. Therefore, any so-called survey company asking you for money, no matter what their reason, should set off your alarm bells. Even if it's not a scam, there are legitimate companies out there who are more than happy to pay you for completing a survey.
Trying to Sell You Something
Run a mile if an online survey company tries to sell you anything. As mentioned, you want to get paid for your time, not pushed into spending your money. Even if they tell you to purchase a product to test it, this is always free with legitimate companies. Likewise, many scammers say you could be making at least Â£1,000 per week if you buy their database for access to highly paid surveys - in fact you can access legitimate paid surveys yourself by doing a Google search.
Asking for Sensitive Information
Categorically, no legitimate online survey company would ever ask you for sensitive information, such as your credit card details or tax reference number. No legitimate bank would ever ask you this on the phone or online either for that matter. Run a mile if you get asked for details such as these.
Not Stating the Length of Surveys
Above-board market research companies will always tell you how long each survey takes, which is important since your time is worth money. Survey sites that aren't clear about this, or that vastly underestimate the time a questionnaire actually takes are either scamming you to get you to provide personal details when you subscribe, or they are amateurs and not to be trusted.
The above tips make clear what they key factors are that should set off your warning bells when looking to take part in paid online surveys.
To view an example of a legitimate, respected UK company that you can trust, information share by UK market research company Crowdology.