How to Avoid Survey Scams? (10 Signs to Look Out for)

how to avoid survey scams header

Survey sites can be a great way to make some extra money online, as anyone can participate.

Unfortunately, that has also led to many survey scams, where you can end up losing money instead of making money.

I have tested hundreds of survey sites and have come across both some really great and some really poor sites, and in this article, I will tell you how to avoid survey scams by looking for the right signs.

There are certain ways you can easily spot the scams and figure out if a survey site is legit or a scam.

What is a survey scam?

Before getting into which signs to look for to identify a scam, let's first talk a bit about what a survey scam is/how I define it in this article, and what the purpose of these sites is.

There are different kinds of survey scams. In my experience, these can be divided into mainly three categories:

  • Sites that will trick money out of you
  • Sites that aim to get your contact information to sell to a third party
  • Sites that are just a waste of time

The last point on the list, I would actually not necessarily classify as a scam.

Some sites just have very limited surveys available in a certain country, and they can, therefore, feel like a waste of time. That does not necessarily make them a scam, and they might work very well for others.

There are also sites that are aggregators where you think you sign up to take surveys, but you actually just sign up for their email list or get access to a list of actual survey sites.

These aggregators are also not really scams as most of them actually only promote legit sites – they are, however, a waste of time and sometimes deceptive, in my opinion.

Then there are the sites that are made for scamming money out of you. Those are the ones that are really important to learn to identify and stay away from.

So let's look at how to identify these scam sites.

Recommended: See the Best Legit Survey Sites in Your Country

How to identify a survey scam site?

Luckily the survey scam sites most often have certain signs that give away that they are not legit. This list is some of the most common signs, so be aware of these.

I have created a video that goes over all the signs, but you can also read all the details below the video:

Scam sign #1 – It costs money to participate:

This is one of the clear signs a survey site is a scam. Legit and good survey sites will always be free to sign up for. So if you have to pay to register for a site, you should not sign up.

Some sites only charge very little for you to sign up. It can, therefore, be tempting to sign up and pay, for example, $5, as there is not much to lose. But do not pay anything.

These sites know many people will consider buying if the price is very low, and if they get many people to sign up for this, they will still end up making good money and providing nothing in return (in my opinion).

Another trick is that you are promised a list of the highest paying survey sites, and as soon as you have paid, you will receive this.

There is no need to pay to get a list of paying survey sites.

You can easily find them without paying (you can, for example, check out my top 10 list), and these lists that you pay for will not be worth it anyway.

They are just standard lists, and the person behind them has usually never tested any of the sites or done any research about them. So do not fall for the promise of a list with high paying survey sites in return for money.

Scam sign #2 – Promise to teach you “the secret”:

We would probably all like to get the secret recipe to get rich. Some sites promise you that once you have joined (and paid), they will teach you the secret about how to get rich or make a full-time income from surveys, and with very little effort.

Many scam sites promise to teach you “the secret” to surveys

Do not believe this. There is no secret to getting rich from surveys, as you, in general, cannot become rich from doing surveys, and they will not be able to teach you the secret. Sites like this are instead trying to make good money by getting you to pay for a secret that does not really exist.

Scam sign #3 – No about page:

People behind a scam usually prefer to be anonymous, and therefore there will rarely be an about page on these sites, and also not a way to contact the person behind the page.

That there is not an about page does not necessarily mean that the site is a scam, but it is one of the signs to look for. And if you see many small signs, that should tell you to stay away from the site.

Scam sign #4 – Promise you can become rich:

As mentioned above, survey sites will not make you rich.

They can give you some nice extra money, but not the amounts that some sites promise.

So if you see a site that promises that you can make several hundred or even several thousand dollars a week, resist the temptation to join, as you will just be disappointed, and you might end up paying for a membership that is worth nothing.

Scam sign #5 – The survey calculator:

I have noticed that on many of the survey scam sites, they use the same survey calculator. It is a calculator where you can see how much you can make depending on how many surveys you will take a day.

Be aware that the results you get from this calculator are useless. There is no guarantee that you will be able to take this amount of surveys, or for the reward, you can choose in the calculator (which the sites also mention in very small writing below the calculator).

Paid Survey calculator
An example of the fake calculator some sites use to make it look like you more or less can decide for yourself how much money you want to make.

Scam sign #6 – Only few spots left:

If you see a sign-up box where it says that the site only has a few spots left, do not think you have to hurry to sign up.

This false scarcity tactic is used on some sites to get you to pay and sign up before you have the time to think about it.

If you check the site again a few days (or even weeks) later, it will probably still say “only few spots left”. It is a standard message that will always be there.

Scam sign #7 – Exaggerated testimonials:

You might see videos on some sites with people that supposedly are members of the site already and tell about their experiences. They will tell you about how much money they make and how it has changed their life to now be able to make a lot of money from home by doing more or less nothing.

The videos might even include pictures of them on the beach, in their nice cars, or with big amounts of money.

These videos can be quite convincing, but let me just repeat – you will not become rich from surveys. If there are any testimonials by people in videos claiming this, you can safely assume they are actors/actresses, and it is fake testimonials.

Scam sign #8 – Fake sample survey:

There are a number of scam sites that are using a sample survey to lure you in. It is often a very short one you can do in max 5 minutes by just ticking some boxes, and claims that surveys like this will earn you $15-20.

This is a very unrealistic payment for a 5 minutes easy survey. I am not saying that you will never get a survey like this, but it will be very rare, if ever. It is not a real example but made to look like you can make very good money in very little time.

Scam sign #9 – Money-back guarantee:

Many of the scam sites promise a money-back guarantee. A money-back guarantee is, of course, not in itself a sign of a scam.

Many legit services and products offer this. The problem with the guarantee on the scam sites is that it just says money back guarantee.

survey site money back guarantee
Even though a site promises a money-back guarantee, it does not necessarily mean that you can actually get your money back

But who gives this guarantee?

It is very easy to make a nice-looking stamp to put on a website to make it look legit, but that does not mean it is.

So if a site offers a money-back guarantee, see if you can find more information about this on the site or elsewhere. If not, there is a good chance that it is just a pretty stamp and not an actual guarantee.

Scam sign #10 – You are forced to invite others:

One big red flag you always need to look for when you join a platform where you can supposedly earn some extra money for free is what their payout conditions are.

It has become very popular among the scam sites to have it as a requirement that you need to invite others before you supposedly get paid.

This is how they ensure they keep getting new members, as you are told you, for example, have to invite at least 5 other people to be able to get paid.

But I have tested hundreds of online earning platforms, and no legit site will ever have it as a requirement that you need to invite others to get paid. It is a clear sign it is a scam to stay away from.

Are all survey sites scams?

No, there are many legit and good survey sites where you can make some nice extra money.

Most survey sites are not scams, but how good a site is to make money on depends on many things – first of all, on where in the world you live.

Some survey sites are only available if you live in a certain country. But there are, unfortunately, also quite a few scam sites. If you look for the signs above, you should be able to avoid the scams, and then you can try the legit ones to see which ones work best for you.

I also regularly do reviews of both legit and scam sites on this website, so if you are looking for information about a certain platform have a look around my site.

You can find many of the legit sites + reviews, and advice for these on my list of the Top 10 paying survey sites. These are all free and 100% legit sites and great sites to earn some extra cash.

If you have any questions or any experiences with a survey scam yourself, feel from to leave a comment below.

20 thoughts on “How to Avoid Survey Scams? (10 Signs to Look Out for)”

  1. Hi

    Thanks for your articles shared. I appreciate your efforts. I would like to know the survey sites that are available in Uganda.Thanks

  2. Hi Mikael
    Great post, there is another surveys scam related to mystery shopping: they send you a check(with no funds) and ask you to go to ex Walmart and buy gift cars and check some sections, then you fill a report and as proof, you need to send them the codes and you keep the check, and ” buala “what a surprise when you go to the bank.
    I wanted to ask you because I’m gonna write a post about this theme if i can add your video as a reference
    best regards

    • Unfortunately, there are many scams and I think it is always great when people reveal the scams to help others stay safe. So you are more than welcome to embed my video as a reference.

  3. I am thankful to God for finding someone honest like you brother. I hope your ideas and honest reviews will help many people who are victims of scammers around. I learned a lot from what you’ve written, and maybe I can use this someday to try answering surveys for some extra money. Thanks a lot sir!

  4. Hi;
    Would you be able to share sites available to Papua New Guinea.

    As my country man and woman are victim’s of scams every day.



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