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10 Online Survey Tips to Keep You Safe!

Updated on October 30, 2007

Interested in taking online surveys but not sure if you should? Here some tips that will help keep your personal information safe, and will help you reap the rewards of being an online surveys panelist.

  1. Register only with online survey panels that list a privacy policy on their website
  2. Look for panels approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and that have privacy policies reviewed by TRUSTe or features the WebTrust for Online Privacy Seal of Assurance.
  3. Beware of "survey websites" asking you to receive information for special offers and other survey panels during registration - these websites may sell your name and information to other companies that will send you spam.
  4. Always set up a separate e-mail account exclusively for survey invitations. This will make it easier for you to see how many surveys you have received, and will avoid spam being sent to your personal e-mail address, should you make a mistake and register with an unreputable surveys website.
  5. Beware of "survey websites" that ask for overtly personal information such as your bank account information, credit card numbers, full names of family members, etc. A real online market research company would never ask you to provide this type of information.
  6. Be cautious of "get rich quick" websites. You cannot get rich taking online surveys. However, you can make a decent amount of cash on the side participating in surveys.
  7. Legitimate online survey e-mail invitations will provide information on the type of study being conducted, the survey length, and the incentive for completion. Do not respond or click on e-mail "survey invitations" that feature ads to win products, cash, etc. These e-mails are not coming from legitimate market research companies!
  8. Some research companies will ask you to download software after registration. This software usually tracks your web browsing habits and the information is then sent to marketers. It is ok to download this software if you can verify a legitimate market research firm is running the site - do your homework to make sure that this is indeed the case.
  9. Look for mentions of marketing association memberships on survey panel websites. Reputable associations include CASRO (Council of American Survey Research Organizations) and the AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research).
  10. Your opinion counts! Marketers truly are interested in what you think, enough to reward you with cash and prizes just for sharing your thoughts. Stay cautious when registering with online survey panels, but when you've found a reputable panel - have fun and reap the rewards of being a panelist!

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