Most people who start with paid surveys usually ask these questions:
- Can I really get paid answering surveys?
- Is it possible to work full time as a survey respondent?
- How much can you earn when you answer online surveys?
These questions all pertain to earnings.
It’s no surprise why.
People who give paid surveys a try are typically the ones who are looking for a source of quick extra cash.
After all, this type of income generating method is one of the simplest and easiest ways to make money online.
Now there is also one question that almost always comes up when paid surveys are the topic.
And this is: is it possible to get into any kind of trouble when you answer paid surveys?
You’d expect a straight no answer.
It’s safe to say that you will not get into any kind of legal trouble.
Paid surveys are a legitimate consumer research methods used by legitimate market research companies.
Simply put, these are legal.
But there are other problems that you can get into if you are not careful enough.
And this is exactly what we will discuss in this article.
The most common problem that survey respondents encounter is instilling unrealistic expectations in their minds.
The first thing that you have to know about paid surveys is that it is not a get rich quick scheme.
If you enter this phrase “make money with paid surveys” on the search engine, you will get both legit and not-so-legit results.
In some websites, you will find that paid surveys are being touted as a route to instant wealth and success.
Some even claim that they make $5,000 or more a week with paid surveys.
They even go as far as saying that they only spend one or two hours in front of the computer.
If you did not know any better, this will surely entice you. After all, just like anyone, you are in bad need of money.
It’s so easy to fall into this trap.
Many people have quit their jobs and have given up their other sources of income just to get into the survey taker’s millionaires bandwagon.
Unfortunately, this does not exist.
Paid surveys do not pay this much.
The standard rate offered by legitimate survey companies is only $1 to $5 per survey. You can get paid up to $50 if you answer video surveys.
Aside from the low rate, you also have to consider the low frequency of invitations.
Survey companies only send one or two invitations in a month.
Even if you join 10 companies or more, you still won’t earn $5,000 a week.
You won’t even earn $1,000.
Many survey takers can attest that the most that they earn is $100 to $200 in a month.
As you can see, this is not your route to becoming a millionaire.
It’s not even enough to let you quit your day job.
If like most people, you’re wondering if you can do this full time, and if you can turn this into your primary source of income, the answer is no.
Paid surveys are only good as a side gig, a way to spend your free time the practical way.
You cannot turn this into a day job. You can get reliable income through other means like putting up an online business, monetizing a blog, getting into affiliate marketing or drop shipping. But paid surveys will just provide you with a little extra cash.
It is very important that you set realistic expectations about paid surveys before getting started with this.
This way, you will not get into any kind of trouble financially.
Imagine, quitting the job that you’ve had for the last 10 years just because you thought that this is what will finally help you achieve financial comfort.
And then you find out that it can only give you as much as $100 a month.
What will you do? It would be hard to get your job back or to find another job that pays as well.
Some people have experienced this type of problem because of unrealistic expectations.
Do not let yourself become one of them.
Another issue commonly experienced by survey takers have something to do with their email.
If you’ll read paid survey tips for beginners or steps on how to get started with paid surveys, you will always find this in the list:
“Create a new email for your paid survey jobs”
You might be wondering why there is a need to do so when you already have an email that works.
In your mind, you’re thinking that setting up a new email will only consume more time, and that you want to get started right away.
But this pays off in the long run.
There are two reasons for this:
The first reason is so that you do not get into trouble.
Your personal email is filled with personal information and details that you do not want anyone getting their hands on.
It may even be linked to your online bank accounts or your PayPal address.
Even if you are extremely careful when joining paid survey sites, it is still possible that you end up signing up with a fake survey website.
It is also possible that you joined a legitimate survey panel, but it is one of those that sells or shares the personal information of their users to third parties.
Because of this, it’s possible to compromise your personal email address.
Hackers, identity thieves and scammers are likely to get access to your email address and steal your personal information for their unscrupulous purposes.
Of course, you do not want this to happen.
And this is just the first reason why you should create a separate email address for paid surveys.
Another is for convenience.
As you know, you receive plenty emails in your inbox every day.
This can make it difficult for you to track survey invitations.
Survey companies send invitations to participate in surveys through email.
When you don’t respond immediately to these invitations, the invitations expire after a certain period.
This makes it practical to have a separate email account so that you can monitor your invitations and respond promptly before you lose the chance to earn money to someone else.
Signing up for a new email account is not that difficult or time-consuming anyway.
Sign up with Google, Yahoo or Outlook.
Just fill out the online registration form and agree to the terms and conditions of the email provider.
Make sure that you use your real name in the email so that you won’t have any trouble claiming your payment.
It’s also imperative to set up a strong username and password that hackers won’t guess easily.
It’s never a good idea to use your birthday, pet’s name or best friend’s name as your password.
As for the username, choose something unique as well. Remember this is half of the login information.
If you choose something as simple as your name, you’re making it easier for hackers to get access to your account.
Falling into Scam Traps
According to Data Floq, there are more than 30,000 online scams last year, and mobile scams have increased by 25 percent.
This is quite alarming especially for people who work online or who are interested to do so.
It might turn you off and make you think that the online world is not safe enough for you.
While it’s true that scams abound in all types of online industries including consumer research, it’s also true that there are things that you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
One of these is to know how scammers work.
There are many different types of scams that prey on unknowing survey takers.
One of the most common is getting you to sign up with a fake survey site.
When you sign up with a fake survey site, you will be asked to enter your personal information.
This may include personal financial details that you should not disclose such as your credit card number, bank account details, social security number and so on.
Scammers use this information to get access to your personal accounts to steal your hard earned money.
Another common tactic is a fake survey site sending you a check with an amount that is higher than your actual payment.
For example, you earned $100 from answering paid surveys in a month.
The company will send you a check with an amount of $200, and then will ask you to wire the excess amount to them.
You’ll think that since you already have the check in your hand, there shouldn’t be any problem sending them back the $100.
But once the check clears (by this time, you’ve already sent the $100), you find out that it has bounced and that you’re not getting the $100 you were promised. Ultimately, you lose $200 (your own $100 that you sent to them, and the $100 you worked hard for).
Aside from these two common schemes, there are many others that you should be wary about.
So you don’t get into these types of scam troubles, it’s imperative that you learn to distinguish between a real and legitimate survey site, and a fake survey site.
Keep in mind that a real survey site will not ask you to pay any registration or membership fee to join, or to buy any products to get your first assignment.
You should also take the time to do an extensive background check on any survey company that you’re thinking of joining.
Go to Better Business Bureau and search for the company in its database so you can find out if it is accredited, and what rating it has.
You should also check out the Survey Police and read reviews from people who have actually tried using these survey companies.
Never join any survey company that offers rates that are too good to be true. As discussed earlier, you need to set realistic expectations about paid surveys.
Survey companies only pay $1 to $5 per each survey. If the company offers you with extremely high rates such as $100 per survey, it’s a sign that it is a scam.
Working with Troublesome Companies
It’s one thing to stay away from scams.
It’s another to find legitimate survey companies that are easy to work with.
There are actually some survey companies that are quite difficult to work with. There are also those that have systems that are too complicated to figure out. And there are those whose customer support is so poor that you’ll just end up getting so frustrated.
As you can imagine, there are plenty problems that you can encounter if you choose the wrong survey company to work with.
This is why, aside from avoiding scams, you should take the time to do a background check on the company before joining.
Just because you confirmed that the company is legit, it does not mean that you should automatically join it.
You need to find out what other users are saying about the company.
You can find out through online reviews and online forums.
Read about the feedback of its members to find out exactly how the company treats them.
Be wary of fake reviews that the company have posted themselves.
One sign that tells you that a review is fake is when it rambles on and on with positive compliments that do not have any real basis.
Here’s an example:
“This is great! This survey site is the best thing ever! This is one of the best I’ve ever tried! You can’t get anything better than this!”
You can see that the user is just going on and on about how great the site is but never really tells you what is great about it. And that’s because the reviewer is fake, he/she has not even used the site so he/she does not have anything useful to share.
If you find the company’s reviews are mostly in this format, you should be wary of joining this site.
Of course, no survey company is perfect so each one that you’ll find online will at least have a few negative reviews on them.
Just make sure that you work with those that have more positive reviews than negative reviews so you can save yourself from stress and frustration.
One of the worst things that can happen to you as a survey taker is not getting paid.
You work so hard to complete all your survey assignments and then you find out in the end that you’re not getting paid for all your hard work.
A possible reason for this is that the survey company you joined is a scam.
But there are other reasons for this as well.
The survey panel may be legitimate but it might have encountered financial problems and do not have the funds to pay you.
Or it can also happen that the payment threshold is too high that your earnings never reach the amount because either you’ve stopped answering surveys or that there are no more survey invitations being sent your way.
There are many possible scenarios but you can protect yourself by learning about the company’s payment system right away.
There are four specific things that you need to know about:
- Payment duration
- Payment threshold
- Payment options
- Payment gateways
Payment duration is the time estimated for the processing of your payment. It’s never wise to go for companies that take forever to process your payments. Go for those that guarantee a week or less of payment processing.
Payment threshold is the amount of money that your earnings have to reach in order for you to request to redeem it. Ask the company what its payment threshold is. Do not join those that impose extremely high payment thresholds such as $100 or more. It’s best to go for those with low or with no minimum payout requirements.
As for the payment options, you need to know that there are some survey companies that do not pay in cash but only with gift cards and other forms of rewards. If you wish to get paid in cash, be sure that the company offers this as one of the options.
Finally, you need to know about the payment gateways. Many survey companies make use of PayPal, and this is often a good choice. PayPal is not only highly secured, it is also fast and efficient. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your payments are safe when sent using this route.
It is also imperative that you redeem your rewards right away. Once the earnings have reached the threshold, request to withdraw your money immediately. You never know, a survey company may suddenly shut down or may disappear without warning never to be heard from again.
Paid surveys are a quick and legitimate way to make money online. But it is not a perfect system. There are some loopholes as well as the prevalence of scams that means that it’s possible to encounter problems when you become a survey respondent. The good news is, there are precautions that you can take so you can keep it safe while engaged in this type of consumer research method.