[Tips]10 Online Survey Tips to Keep You Safe!

Interested in taking online surveys but not sure if you should? Here some tips that will help keep your personal information safe, and will help you reap the rewards of being an online surveys panelist.

1.Register only with online survey panels that list a privacy policy on their website.
2.Look for panels approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and that have privacy policies reviewed by TRUSTe or features the WebTrust for Online Privacy Seal of Assurance.
3.Beware of "survey websites" asking you to receive information for special offers and other survey panels during registration - these websites may sell your name and information to other companies that will send you spam.
4.Always set up a separate e-mail account exclusively for survey invitations. This will make it easier for you to see how many surveys you have received, and will avoid spam being sent to your personal e-mail address, should you make a mistake and register with an unreputable surveys website.
5.Beware of "survey websites" that ask for overtly personal information such as your bank account information, credit card numbers, full names of family members, etc. A real online market research company would never ask you to provide this type of information.
6.Be cautious of "get rich quick" websites. You cannot get rich taking online surveys. However, you can make a decent amount of cash on the side participating in surveys.
7.Legitimate online survey e-mail invitations will provide information on the type of study being conducted, the survey length, and the incentive for completion. Do not respond or click on e-mail "survey invitations" that feature ads to win products, cash, etc. These e-mails are not coming from legitimate market research companies!
8.Some research companies will ask you to download software after registration. This software usually tracks your web browsing habits and the information is then sent to marketers. It is ok to download this software if you can verify a legitimate market research firm is running the site - do your homework to make sure that this is indeed the case.
9.Look for mentions of marketing association memberships on survey panel websites. Reputable associations include CASRO (Council of American Survey Research Organizations) and the AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research).
10.Your opinion counts! Marketers truly are interested in what you think, enough to reward you with cash and prizes just for sharing your thoughts. Stay cautious when registering with online survey panels, but when you've found a reputable panel - have fun and reap the rewards of being a panellist!

[Tips]Identifying Paid Online Survey Scams

Consumers wanting to participate in online surveys are faced with the daunting task of figuring out which online survey panels are legitimate and which are simply scams. Sometimes the decision is easy - a website where a bikini-clad model holding a laptop with "win me!" flashing on the screen is clearly not a legitimate survey panel, but rather, a marketing company looking to collect information.

Sometimes however this differentiation is not so obvious. The following are tips to help you identify paid online survey scams.

Bare Bones 1-Page Registrations
A site that simply asks for a first and last name and e-mail address is usually a scam site and not a market research panel. If the intital signup page looks overly simplified, be weary - most online survey companies collection additional information so they can better target panellists for available surveys. Be cautious with these 'bare bones' websites and watch for these next signs.

No Company Information
Similar to a 1-page registration, many survey scam websites do not provide any information at all regarding their business. Marketing research companies willingly disclose information regarding their company headquarters, company history, survey panel information, etc. A website lacking this important 'about us' page may be an online survey scam website.

No Privacy Policy
Similarly to no background information, a website that does not list a privacy policy is likely not a legitimate online survey site. Legitimate online survey panels will list the ways they use panellist information and will display this in the form of a privacy policy. Any website missing this important page of information should be avoided.

Crazy Promises
Some online survey websites will make claims that include making exorbitant sums of money. For example, a claim stating earnings of $150 a day taking online surveys is most likely fraudulent. Most verifiable market research companies encourage panellists to take online surveys because their opinions are valuable and influence the products and services of tomorrow. Reasonable compensation for surveys is usually awarded to panellists, but taking surveys is not a huge money-making endeavour. Websites promising otherwise should be thoroughly investigated.

If there is any question in your mind that a website you visit is not that of an online survey company, but is instead an online survey scam - don't fill in the registration! Once you hit 'submit' on a form, you are agreeing to having your information used in ways that you might not agree with. If you're feeling adventurous, complete the panel registration form, but set up an alternate e-mail address and provide this address as your contact e-mail. This way, if your judgement is incorrect, the spam you receive will be to a less important e-mail account.

Online surveys are a great way to voice your opinions and be compensated for doing so. They are fun, addictive, and really do make an impact on the products and services companies develop, modify and discontinue. SurveyPolice is at your service to help you differentiate between online survey scam websites and true marketing research companies, wanting and needing your opinion for legitimate purposes.

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