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Are surveys safe? Some helpful tips for online survey takers

The Internet can be a tricky place, especially if you plan to do business. Luckily, while scam websites may still be present on the Web, there are dozens of ways to check the reputation of certain programs or opportunities you find before you invest time in the activity.

Paid online surveys are no different. There are plenty of organizations and tools you can use to check if your information will be safe and the site is reliable. Here are just a few quick and easy tips you may want to consider before signing up for an online survey service.

1. Check the reputation 
There are dozens of review sites and forums that take a critical look at online survey sites. While some of the answers you receive may not come from professionals, there are trusted sources you can look to for better responses. For instance, SurveyPolice collects reviews and and hosts information about dozens of survey websites. Opinion Outpost is among the top ten most reputable services mentioned.

2. Look for companies on social media
Of course, you can also check the trustworthiness of an organization by using its social media page. Most reputable businesses have some sort of social media presence that is updated regularly and hosts valuable information. Check Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to get a careful look at an online survey service.

3. Avoid sites with lots of advertisements
Like most sketchy places on the Web, survey sites with too many advertisements should be treated very critically. Ken Colburn, President of Data Doctors Computer Services, told KTAR News in Arizona that many of the most reputable paid survey sites rarely do a tremendous amount of advertising to reel in more users. 

4. Check the privacy policy and all other information
A surefire way to see exactly what you're getting into is to carefully read a website's privacy policy information, according to ABC News. Before you sign up for an online survey service, you will likely have to agree to certain terms. Don't just skim this section and begin the service. Carefully read the material and make sure you don't agree to anything that sounds suspicious or misleading. Moreover, don't give any of your personal information without doing this.

5. Check rewards policies 
You don't want to put in the work if you're not getting some sort of benefit, so check the rewards policies carefully. Most online survey sites reward participants based on a particular points system. They don't expressly mention that you'll be paid in cash for your service. That being said, carefully study the relationship between the point system and the actual value you get in dollars. If the deal is too good to be true, you may want to practice caution. Make sure the program is realistic and the claims are justified. The last thing you want to do is pour your time into a program that doesn't reward you an expected amount.


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