Making a quick buck off online surveys is easy, but are online surveys for money safe?

Online surveys often ask for personal information.

Your email account. Home address. Employer. All shared with a company you’ll never see, with people you’ll never meet.

In return for a small reward, you may be trading more than just your time.

Not sure if it’s safe to take online surveys for money? Want to do online surveys safely? Read on to find out.

So, are online surveys for money safe?

The short answer is this: Not every online survey is safe.

In fact, online survey scams are becoming more and more common.

(image credit: OptinMonster) Contrary to what many sites claim, online surveys aren't as safe as you think

By collecting personal information from unsuspecting victims, scammers can easily pull off identity theft scams. In the US alone, almost 3.2 million identity theft and fraud reports were received in just 2019.

Fake online surveys can even sell your information to telemarketers, spam callers and – worse – scam artists of every stripe.

This year, that number’s getting a lot higher.

But more importantly, almost any online survey puts your privacy at risk.

(Image credit: Boston Idea Week)Personal information you share on online surveys may be disclosed to spam callers or even criminals. 

That’s because even legitimate online surveys collect personal information These surveys are often used by companies to directly reach out to their customers.

Companies have a vested interest in knowing more about who their customers are, what they do, why they do what they do. And they can know all of this when you, their customer, completes an online survey.

Is trading your safety and privacy for $1 to $2 an hour on online surveys really worth it?

5 tips for staying safe with online surveys

As privacy advocates, we highly discourage you from participating in any survey that:

  • asks for your personal information
  • does not explicitly disclose their privacy terms and conditions

If you still want to do online surveys for money, here’s what you should do.

Tip 1: Avoid paying for online surveys

(image credit:: Cheese Debit Card) You're getting paid for the survey, not the other way round

You’re looking to earn money doing online surveys, not paying to do them anyway.

But the real danger with paying for online surveys is that you may be exposing your financial information to people who should not have access to it.

Tip 2:  Use a fake email address and phone number

Got a survey asking you for your contact information? Avoid providing your actual email address or phone number and use fake ones instead.

Regardless of whether an online survey is fake or not, information you share on the survey will be shared with someone.

At worse, your contact details will be sold to unscrupulous scammers and spam callers.

At best, you’ll be hounded by telemarketers who bought your contact details from the survey organisers.

To get a fake email address, simply create another account with an email provider like Gmail or Outlook.

Get a fake phone number for online surveys with Phoner.

If you’re looking for a fake phone number, our Phoner second phone number app can get you started with zero fuss.

Tip 3: Verify the online survey’s details

Legitimate online surveys conducted by professional market research firms typically provide a brief that tells you:

  • What the online survey is about
  • How long the online survey is
  • What incentive you’ll receive for completing it

For further assurance, also keep a lookout for any logos of marketing association memberships on the websites of these survey companies.

(image credit: Sue Koch) Keep an eye out for marketing association logos on online survey sites

These memberships are only extended to companies that have met a certain industry standard.

Also, take note if an online survey asks you to install some sort of software. These software track your web browsing habits and remotely send information to the survey company.

Tip 4: Avoid online surveys without a privacy policy

(image credit: Themeisle) Can't find a privacy policy? Avoid doing the online survey.

A clear privacy policy is important for any company to help customers feel safe when taking online surveys.

If you’re not sure if an online survey is safe to do, you should immediately check out their privacy policy. Be sure to look out for:

  • How the company intends to use your data
  • How the company protects your data
  • Who gets to access your data

Can’t find a privacy policy anywhere on the site? It’s best to just avoid that online survey altogether.

Tip 5: If they say they’re not a scam, they probably are scams

A peculiar trait of fake online surveys is how they repeatedly tell visitors that they’re scam-free and trustworthy.

This constant reiteration that they’re not scams should already set off alarm bells. No legitimate online survey needs to tell people that they’re not scams in the first place.

If you see an online survey company marketing themselves as “scam-free”, “100% no scam” or “completely trustworthy”, it’s best to stay away.

How safe online surveys for money are depends on you

Online surveys are great for making an occasional quick buck. But it pays to be aware of the risks they pose to your safety and privacy.

Ultimately, taking online surveys for money is only safe if you take the right steps. With our 5 tips, you can better protect your online privacy.

Are online surveys for money safe? Not all of them, but you can still have a safe experience with the right measures. Start earning money by taking online surveys safely today!