ONLINE SURVEYS: Money-makers or scams?

By  | 

If you're looking for some extra cash, $100 in exchange for 10 minutes of your time might sound like a tempting deal, but how safe is it?

The Better Business Bureau of of Eastern North Carolina is warning residents to be cautious when participating in paid online surveys.

While there are legitimate companies that seek feedback on products and services through online surveys, those companies will not offer to pay you hundreds of dollars for it.

If that's the case, the BBB says it's likely a scammer that's created a fake survey in a phishing attempt. Last year, more than 740 residents fell victim of survey scams across our state. So, how do you make sure you're not one of them?

The BBB is offering the following advice:

Research the company. A good place to start is bbb.org. The BBB offers reviews for more than 4.7 million businesses. You can research customer reviews and experiences to decide if you want to move forward.

Are they asking you to pay? Watch out! You should never be asked to enter your credit card information when filling out a survey. Read through the rewards/ payment section of the survey on the company's website to see how participants are rewarded. Typically, they'll send you cash through PayPal, which means a company will only need your e-mail address. Any additional questions a company would ask for is general demographic information (age, gender, zip code, income, family, etc).

If it's too good to be true... it probably is. Most surveys only pay .50 cents to $1. The company will not pay out until a certain threshold is met. You will often be asked to take multiple surveys to receive a certain amount of "points" before being paid in exchange for your time.

Read the privacy policy. Before filling out any personal information, review the company's policies. Make sure your information is secure and not being sold to third parties. If a privacy policy is not available, it's best to avoid the company altogether.

If you've fallen victim to this scam, report it to the Better Business Bureau.