1. Never pay for surveys
Companies that are legitimate and actually pay you for taking surveys will never ask for payments for accessing their surveys. Such sites are generally ‘membership sites’ that will prompt you to pay a fee to gain access to their directory of survey companies.
Although they claim that their directory comprises of the best survey sites, never fall trap to such sites and the sites they host are full of spam or have negligible incentives for taking surveys.
Instead, start at a slow pace and sign up for some of the well-known and popular companies as listed below and eventually, start adding more companies. On the whole, NEVER pay for taking a survey as you only have to get paid for taking surveys.
2. Enroll for research companies instead of membership directories
Some companies have a referral incentive and they sign you up as new users on a bulk basis so that the survey companies pay them. You might not get to know about such shady companies in the first glance as they do not require any fees for signing up.
Hence, the best approach is to go through the ‘About Us’ page of the survey company you are planning to sign up for, as you will get to know if they actually carry out surveys for real clients or not. Beware of the content there, as it be tricky at times making it difficult to understand.
3. Ensure your Privacy
Legitimate companies do not ask for personal user details and will maintain your privacy.
If you want to differentiate a legitimate company from a spurious one, read their policy page and they might not be a reliable company if they share user information with their partners.
4. Stay away from paid offer sites
There are several sites that promote themselves as paid survey sites but in reality, they are paid offer sites which make money by making people to sign up and be a part of their promotion list so that they can flood you with their advertisements and make money.
These websites can easily be recognized when you see that they have a long list of offers you will have to see to complete the survey and redeem your prize.
These websites will also show dubious offers saying that you can get something at a discounted price while the original price is much lesser than their apparent discounted price. You might get paid to watch their advertisements and read their emails.
If you take close look at the privacy terms, you will clearly get to know if your confidentiality is maintained or not.
However, not all paid offers are scams and you can earn using these sites as well. The only problem is that, you will have to go through a lot and also be okay with your personal information doing rounds among various companies.
5. Be careful of Spyware
Some websites will insist you to download a program and install it so that they can track your web behavior and preferences. Although some people are okay with this, they do not realize that such an extent of monitoring is unacceptable and it will also infringe on your personal life.
If in case you choose to be a part of it, make sure that you do not carry out any financial transactions or use the computer for personal work, so that all your sensitive information is safe.
6. Fill your profile selectively
Once you get to know about the sites that sell your information, be selective and fill in all your details correctly only on legitimate paid survey sites.
The main reason is that, they will send across surveys only if you match their requirements and if you fill in wrong information, you will automatically be disqualified from the survey.
For reputed surveys, companies sometimes subject you through a screening survey to ensure that you are a good fit for the survey.
Additionally, some sites also pay you if you are unable to clear the screening survey.
7. Watch out for the payment method
While some companies pay out cash, the rest pay in points that can be redeemed for cash or might pay you with a gift card, give entries to sweepstakes or gift you products.
However, before you sign up for a survey, make sure that you know how you are paid. If you have taken repeated surveys for a company, make sure that you are getting compensated for all the surveys.
Also check for the time period before which you will have to wait for redemption of points or product.
Some companies also set an expiration date for the points and if they do not pay in cash, make sure that the products or points they offer are fruitful, as you will be investing your time in taking the surveys.
8. Increase your activity
Sites prefer to give you surveys if your activity is high. They might also end up paying you more.
Hence, keep checking your account and ensure that your profile is up-to-date for receiving the most appropriate surveys. Some sites also lock your account if there is no activity. Hence, make sure that you are active on the site.
9. Calculate your earnings
The best way to know how good a survey site is to keep a record of the total time you spend taking their surveys and their total payout.
Hence, look out for the surveys and sites that pay you more for the time you spend, so that you can choose on the surveys to take wisely rather than taking up surveys that pay low and waste your time.
10. Maintain a dedicated mailing address, e-mail account and credit card
As there will be a lot of spam from different survey sites, it is best recommended that you maintain a separate e-mail account.
For people who choose the paid offers option, it is highly recommended that you use a separate credit card such as Master Card, Visa Card or even in your PayPal account, as you will be able to keep a track on all the charges and you can assess the unauthorized charges, if any, as well.
It is a best practice to make use of a dedicated computer exclusively for surveys as your personal and sensitive information will remain safe.
Watch this video for another tip on how to be safe online