Anyone who’s ever been online should, by now, be aware of the hundreds of “work from home” internet based companies that are consistently advertised in 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.
These people are prey to unscrupulous methods used by some online survey companies. These scams include the following:
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. Everyone would be home, in front of their computers, earning easy money. 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 sites like they would avoid the bubonic plague. Unfortunately, PT Barnum was right when he said that there was a sucker born every minute. Which is why these sites continue to exist.
2. The cell phone scam. In this popular scam, you’ll be asked for your cell phone number to “confirm” your membership. Seconds later, you will receive a call on your cell phone. The call will end up costing you anywhere from $1.95 to $4.95; depending on the company. These companies don’t usually end up charging you too much because they figure you’ll never miss a couple of bucks. But it adds up for them and that’s how they make their money. They will then periodically send you text messages telling you you’ve won a prize and to claim it, you simply need to reply to the text. This will end up costing you more money. 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). It’s dangerous to give out such information to anyone over the phone; legitimate companies will send you 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 are just four of the scams that I’ve actually encountered during my foray into the world of online survey participation. I consider myself a half-way intelligent person, but I got caught for $1.95 for the cell phone scam and $12.95 for the magazine subscription. I’ve also been called about 20 times so far by different “health insurance” company representatives who requested my social security number and bank information over the telephone. These companies have yet to send me anything by mail. Luckily, I know better than to give such information over the telephone.
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. And avoid the “online education” inquiries as well. Do some research prior to joining any company, do not pay a fee, and beware of anyone or any website that promises to make you rich.