Popular Scams The Online Survey Companies Use

By now everyone should be well aware that hundreds of scams exist online. For example, "work from home" internet-based companies are consistently being advertised on various websites. One of the more popular is "doing surveys for cash."

There are literally hundreds of online survey companies. Most of them are not legitimate ways to make money, although a few of them can earn you a few bucks. These companies target stay at home moms who want to make a few extra dollars while taking care of the kids, the unemployed who want to make a few extra dollars while watching dozens of daytime court TV programs, the elderly who are not afraid to use the computer, and teenagers who think they know everything but aren't yet wise to the ways of the world. And, let's not forget the very greedy people of low intelligence who think they can get rich by answering a few simple questions to which a five year old can respond. It is these types of people who fall prey to some online survey companies and are easily taken advantage of. Here are four specific kinds of scams to look out for:

1. The fee for joining. There are some sites out there who charge a "fee" to join. They promise you an opportunity to earn up to $100,000 a year, sitting home at your computer taking surveys. The fee is usually less than $50. These sites are always a scam. If it was possible to earn $100,000 a year doing surveys online, the roads would be empty because no one would be going to work. Instead we would all be at home sitting at our computers earning money the easy way!! These sites prey on the greedy and/or lazy people of little intelligence. By the time they figure out that their "get rich quick" scheme isn't working, they're out $50. It's not a crime to be greedy, lazy or stupid. And, unfortunately, it isn't a crime to prey upon them in many cases. These sites are careful to add "disclaimers" stating that not everyone will earn this amount of money. They promise nothing, but include testimonials on their site from people with no last names who claim to be living the high life from the comfort of their homes. They usually have photos of flashy cars and huge houses on their websites. People need to stay away from these types of sites as if avoiding the bubonic plague. P.T. Barnum was right, unfortunately, when he said, "there is a sucker born every minute", and this is why these types of sites continue to exist.

2. The cell phone scam. In this widely used scam, beware if you are asked to give out your cell number to confirm your new membership. Within seconds you will get a call on your cell phone, which could actually cost you anywhere from $2.00-$5.00, depending on the company. These companies figure you will never notice an extra small amount charged on your bill, therefore, their reason for keeping the amount charged so low. But you can see how these small amounts could add up substantially for them and that's how they make their money. They will then periodically nag you with text messages saying that you have won something, and to claim it, all you have to do is reply to the message. This, too, can cost you even more money. Lesson learned: Do not give out your cell phone number to any website!!

3. The Switcheroo. In this scam, you will be participating in a survey and then be directed to another website. They will ask you to show an "interest" in obtaining more information from one of their marketing partners. You will continue to answer "no" and keep getting more offers; the survey will never end until you answer "yes." Now this scam might not cost you any money, but it will cost you time. Because when you say that you are interested in learning more about health insurance, expect to receive an average of 10 calls a week from telemarketers trying to sell you health insurance. And the insurance they are trying to sell you is a lot more than you can expect to pay than if you contact an insurance agent in your area. I know this for a fact as I've actually done price researching. And the telemarketing company will ask you for both your social security number as well as your bank information (so they can send in a deposit with your application). So much damage can be done by revealing such personal information over the phone. You can expect any legitimate business to send any information you require by mail.

4. The phone bill scam. You'll sign up for a survey company and provide your telephone number. Then you'll proceed in completing a survey and receive an offer for a free issue for a magazine. You'll think to yourself - what's the harm? You'll give your name and address for the magazine and hardly notice when a fee for a year's subscription shows up on your telephone bill,. If you read the fine print, however, you will see that when you provided the company with your name and address to receive your "free" magazine, you authorized them to bill you via your telephone bill. They figure that you won't even notice the extra $12.95 attached to your phone bill. And many people don't.

These four scams are ones that we have encountered while venturing into the world of online survey participation. Even if you're like most half-way intelligent people, we got caught for the $1.95 cell phone scam and $12.95 for a magazine subscription. We have also been called numerous times by different "health insurance" company representatives who requested our social security numbers and banking information over the telephone. These companies have yet to send us anything by mail.

Online survey taking can be fun, but be careful. Do not give out your cell phone number under any circumstances. Do not give out your social security number or bank information. Do not ever express any interest in receiving information from health insurance providers. Also be wary of those "online education" inquiries.

In essence, do your homework before joining any company, do not pay any fees to join, and beware of any website or company representative that promises to make you rich.

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