6 Tips to Spot a Survey Scam [Survey and Promotion Websites]

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Paid survey sites are legitimate side hustles, but only if you know where to look. In this article, we discuss how survey scams work so you can take the necessary steps to avoid them.

The key to a successful business is getting a feel of the consumers’ pulse. While there are several ways to get people’s opinions about a product or a service, online surveys are by far the most cost-effective way to hear the voice of a certain demographic. Here’s where market research companies come in.

Market research is a massive business.

Big-name companies spend billions of dollars every year for product testing, focus groups, surveys, and interviews, all in an effort to determine your needs, what flavors you fancy, what music you like, or what you think looks good.

To save money and time, several companies are switching to online market research, and surveys are one of the most popular methods of collecting consumer opinion.

The dangers of survey scam sites

Platforms like Survey Junkie or InboxDollars conduct surveys on behalf of big-name companies. As a survey taker, you can make a few extra bucks by answering these surveys in your free time, but first-timers are advised not to dive in just yet.

While legitimate sites abound, the Internet is still rife with survey and promotions scam sites who fool people into letting go of their money in mischievous (and utterly believable) ways.

If you’re looking to get paid to take surveys online, it’s absolutely integral that you know how these shady businesses from legitimate platforms.

Signing up for scams and losing money in the process can be an absolute headache – here are tips on how to avoid being scammed, complete with details on what to watch out for which paid sites for surveys and promotions are legitimate.

Top Survey Options to Earn

How do survey sites scam people?

Survey scam sites fool people in two ways: by making you pay to answer surveys or by sending you a flood of products and service advertisements, hoping you sign up for them.

Most scam survey sites will promise outlandish rewards just for signing up or will send you dozens of offers where you have to enter your email or contact details.

While legitimate survey sites may also send you offers where you’ll have to signup with your email address – there’s a glaring difference. Scam sites send you a deluge of offers via email and encourage you to signup, often without any suggestion that you’ll get anything out of doing so.

On the other hand, when you sign up for an offer from a legitimate company, they’ll often offer cashback or points in return for doing so while making you a beneficiary for a part of the commission they earn.

Distinguishing a legitimate survey site from a scam site can be difficult, especially for survey takers who aren’t well versed with how paid survey sites work.

What are scams when it comes to survey sites, and how do scammers do it?

Let’s discuss the telltale signs of a fake survey site, and what you can do to avoid them.

See Related: 17 Best Survey Sites [Take Paid Surveys for Money Online]

The anatomy of a survey scam site

Anatomy of a Scam Survey Site

1. They promise outlandish rewards.

No one gets rich by answering survey sites – we make this point numerous times when we review paid survey sites here in Financial Wolves. Any survey platform that promises considerable wealth is a phony, and you can take our word for it.

While survey sites can help you earn a few bucks to help support your financial goals, you can’t make it your main source of income, or much more, make you rich.

Watch out for buzzword-ridden language. Survey scam sites like to use flowery language to tempt you into answering surveys or having you pay to sign up. We’ve seen scam sites promising thousands of dollars a month or extremely high payouts for people who answer surveys regularly – these are simply too good to be true.

Know the usual payout. In our experience, monetary survey rewards range from $1 to more than $25 per survey, but they’re generally on the lower end of that range. If you can take several surveys in a day (keyword: if. Most survey sites won’t be able to send you surveys on a daily basis), they may earn a good amount of pocket money every month.

Know that most survey sites don’t pay in cash. A big chunk of today’s legitimate survey companies doesn’t pay in cash. Instead of money, surveys you answer may earn you points or cash back, which you may use to get discounts, purchase products, or get free stuff.

Some legitimate companies will enter you into sweepstakes for every survey you take, giving you a chance to win money or a product.

The bottom line is, no credible survey site will offer hundreds of dollars for answering a single survey or allow you to earn thousands of dollars per month.

Keep this in mind when selecting a survey site to participate in.

A site like Survey Junkie does not offer lucrative rewards. They are transparent with your earnings potential and guide to achieve a level of success with your earnings.


Survey Junkie

Up to $50 Per Survey

Survey Junkie is one of the leading survey sites. The site offers surveys paying up to $50 each survey. The site has over 10 million members. You can cash your earnings via gift card or PayPal. It’s very easy to join and start making money.


2. They require a sign-up fee.

Legitimate survey sites will never ask you for payment to answer surveys. The moment you see a website request for sign up fees, that’s your cue to steer clear from it.

Credible companies understand that the more survey takers they have, the more attractive they are to businesses looking for market research. An entry fee will only discourage survey takers from joining, thus, they would never ask survey-takers to pay just to enter.

Understand how paid survey sites make money. Another thing to realize is that legitimate survey sites don’t generate income from sign up fees. That’s because a big chunk of their revenue comes from companies who pay them for market research. A survey site asking for sign up fees probably doesn’t have enough capital to keep its business running.

There may be dire consequences. While this seems like a pretty obvious red flag, thousands of people get fooled into paying a sign-up fee for scammy survey sites every day. Once these survey scam sites receive your money, they’ll flood you thousands of surveys that won’t earn you much, or worse, they’ll take your money and run.

3. They don’t have a privacy policy.

How can you spot a legitimate survey site? Check out the presence of a Privacy Policy. Legitimate survey companies know the value of a privacy policy, and they always make sure it’s visible on their websites. If your survey platform doesn’t have a privacy policy, it would be best to move on.

Check the policy. Privacy policies are often located on a website’s footer section, so don’t forget to click it and make a quick run-through. Some scammers will add a Privacy Policy button on their website that doesn’t lead anywhere once you click the link.

Check the about page. Reputable companies will not keep their company history and identity a secret. If your survey platform doesn’t have an ‘about’ page or a section where you can get to know more about the company, it would be best to stay away.

4. They ask for sensitive information.

Survey sites will need to know basic information about you to determine your demographics. This is all well and good. Information such as your age, sex, income, zip code, family count, and basic information about your family members are safe to share.

What’s not safe to share is your full address or your social security number. Survey platforms that try to collect your personal information are survey scam sites that you should never participate in.

5. They use an anonymous email account.

Legitimate online surveys that pay cash will always have their own custom email addresses as they how this adds to professionalism and credibility. People are more likely to engage with a company or website with customized emails, as this makes them appear more official and better prepared at handling queries.

If your survey site’s official email ends with an @gmail.com or @yahoo.com, this may be a cause for concern as this suggests that the platform is handled only by an individual and not a reputable group.

It also suggests that the platform doesn’t have the financial capability to secure email hosting services to begin with.

6. They don’t have credible reviews.

It should go without saying that a legitimate business must have credible reviews, especially if its been operating for years. Some survey platforms display reviews on their websites, but discerning people know that reviews found outside of the website offer more value.

If you’re looking for examples of survey scam sites, all you need to do is to read the user reviews of the platforms that you feel uneasy with. When reading these reviews, make sure to pay close attention to people’s experiences.

Here’s what you need to look out for if your goal is avoiding scams.

The payout duration. Some survey platforms don’t stick with their promise of paying you at a certain date, which naturally angers survey takers. When reading reviews, how many people complained about not being paid on time? How many ranted about not being paid at all? Among those who complained, were actions taken to rectify the problem?

The number of surveys they receive. Now, this is a tough one. The number of surveys you receive may depend on your location and your demographic, but if there’s a massive clamor for more surveys, this may mean that the survey platform that you’ve signed up for is not worth your time at all.

Too many surveys for too little pay. While it’s a given that you won’t get rich with surveys, survey sites that send you hundreds of surveys but give you very little in return should raise red flags. Try to see if an incredibly low pay for so much work is a common sentiment among members in review sites.

If it feels like the company is taking advantage of its survey takers, trust your gut.

Which paid survey sites are legitimate?

Here at Financial Wolves, we like reviewing paid survey sites for our readers. We understand the value they provide for people looking for a solid side hustle.

Apart from being easy to do, answering paid surveys for money is a productive time-filler for moments when you’d rather slouch on the couch – but only if you’re signing up for a survey and promotions online USA legit website.

Our experience in reviewing paid survey platforms allowed us to determine which sites are legitimate and which ones are survey scam sites.

Here’s a list of legitimate survey sites we can vouch for.



InboxDollars pays you for answering surveys, watching videos, browsing news websites, or playing games online. You also get a $5 bonus just by signing up.

Earn Per Activity Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
Up to $5 Cash & Gift Cards $30 Read Full Review

Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie

This survey platform has around 10 million subscribers, making it one of the most popular. You can cash out your earnings through PayPal or exchange them for gift cards.

It only accepts members from Canada, Australia, and the United States.

Earn Per Activity Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
$1 – $50 PayPal & Gift Cards $10 Read Full Review

See Related: Survey Junkie Review: Can You Earn Legit Money?



Swagbucks allows you to make money by taking surveys, shopping online, or watching videos. By doing any of these activities, you earn an in-platform currency called Swagbucks which you can cash out or exchange for gift cards.

Earn Per Activity Payment Method Min To
Cash Out
Next Steps
$0.4 – $2 PayPal or Gift Cards $3 Read Full Review

See Related: Swagbucks Review: Is It Legit and Safe?

Ipsos I-Say

Ipsos Isay


While they don’t pay as high as the previous three we’ve mentioned, but they make up for this by having more available surveys. Answering a survey earns you 45 to 60 points, and 100 points are equivalent to $1.

You would need to accumulate 500 points to cash out.

See Related: Ipsos I-Say Review: Is It Worth It?


Survey Time

This platform prides itself on offering users ‘instant surveys’ with truly instant rewards. This means that every time you complete a survey, you get a $1 instant reward of your choosing from its various reward options sent at once to your email.

See Related: SurveyTime Review: Is it Legit or a Scam?

Related Legit Survey Reviews

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