Watch Out For Paid Survey Scams

So, you’re looking to earn a little extra cash?

If so, you may have seen the many paid survey opportunities on the internet, but are they a scam?

A lot of these sites that offer to pay visitors in return for filling out questionnaires or taking surveys most definitely ARE a scam.

Often, they will require a payment up front in order to pay for ‘membership’.

In reality, the only benefit of this membership is that they will then send you a list of other sites you can visit in order to sign up to more mebership schemes, thereby sending you round in circles without paying you for anything at all.

Of course, to make matters worse, you could have used your search engine to have found all of these sites for free in the first place.

Alternatively, they may even charge you a recurring monthly fee for access to their database of the same sites.

Then there are some of these paid survey sites that don’t make an immediate payment.

Instead they enter all the participants into a draw with only the winner receiving any kind of payment for their efforts.

One can only guess if these draws even take place and, if they do, whether they are ‘won’ by real people or associates of the company.

Even with legitimate paid survey sites the rewards are minimal.

Often a survey will take 30 minutes or more to complete and the payment may only be a dollar or two.

Certainly not minimum wage is it!

Therefore, if you are considering paid surveys remember to do your research and don’t expect to get rich from them.

If you see promises to the contrary then it is almost certainly a scam.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. A general rule of thumb is to stay away from ANYONE who wants money up front or even your name and email address upfront before you can get any access to true legit organizations.

    The scam sites are usually:

    1) scattered all over PPC ad networks such as Google ads.
    2) one-page sales pitches that talk about potential incomes that sound too good to be true.
    3) accessed via affiliate links from other sites. If you see ‘clickbank’ in any link that claims to be a legit survey site, then stay away. Clickbank handles the payment system for the site indicating that they want money up front.

    I’ve joined legit survey sites such as those previously metioned (Greenfield etc) and have made over $80 in 6 months. Certainly not life changing. But the money is real and I do have some level of trust in these companies with regards to privacy.
    It’s also been fun. I’ve been involved in live online focus groups and gotten to see movie trailers that have not yet been released.

  2. Hi,

    I think it is best to go just to the research companies themselves. I don’t do it as a “job,” but just for fun. I
    work in human services and need a brain break sometimes.
    I’ve been on Market Reader Pro’s panel for a few years. I did a product test of nail polish (I’m pretty sure it was OPI) and have taken surveys on things like packaging for perfumes, credit card
    services, etc. I don’t know. I think they’ve been around for a while. They paid me for the nail polish survey right away. Some surveys are just a few minutes and not paid. Chance to win a gift certificate. Anyway, point is, why not just go to the research company and join their panel?

    Happy surfing,

  3. Seems like you must have had a bad experience with a site or two. The actual companies that distribute the surveys are definitely not scams though. A company like Greenfield Online pays out millions of dollars a year to its respondants and there is no cost to sign up. In fact, ANY legitimate paid survey site will have no fees, because it adds a bias factor to the survey factor which would be unethical. If a site is asking for you to pay a membership fee then it is a scam, however if you can register for free it is more likely legit.

    I agree you won’t get rich taking online surveys, but some do pay pretty well. I regularly get surveys for $5-10 and have gotten some for over $150! The key is to sign up for as many legitimate sites as possible and to actually respond to the surveys. Once the survey companies see that you are for real they will begin sending you the better paying surveys.

    If you want to give it a try you can get a list of over 300 paying survey sites at Paid Survey Success

  4. Hi Steve

    I’m not trying to say that ALL paid survey sites are a scam. Obviously there are genuine ones out there and, as you so rightly say, they will NOT ask you to pay a membership or registration fee.

    As with any money making scheme it is advisable to do some homework on the sites, check payment terms, levels and frequencies, etc.

    It looks like you have a valuable resource that you have listed there that can point people in the right direction, so they can avoid the fraudulent sites that seem to proliferate the net these days.

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