Online Survey Scams

Online Survey Taking: Is it Truly Safe?

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Written by SurveyPolice

With online surveys bringing in a response rate of up to 42% from emails alone, it is accurate to say that more and more people are participating in the rewarding world of online survey taking. Reputable panels are steadily growing in popularity, but many potential survey takers are hesitant due to safety concerns. It is understandable that there may be concerns about data collection, payment procedures, and other prospective threats, but there are some key ways to ensure that your own online survey taking experience is safe, secure, and enjoyable.

Online panels and the membership organizations that oversee them have come a long way in providing members with the information that they need in order to guarantee a safe and reputable experience. These are some easily detected features that almost all trustworthy panels provide their members with.

Search for privacy policies and contact information

If your key concern about online survey taking surrounds the issue of data collection and distribution, looking for an official privacy policy is the first step in familiarizing yourself with the data collection process that they take part in. Each country has its own policies pertaining to how data can be collected, stored, and shared by market research companies. Reviewing a panel’s official privacy policy will allow you to find out how your personally identifiable information (PII) will be used. Many survey sites will agree to only use your PII for future survey eligibility, or some wiill share it with companies that are valued as trusted parties in the specific research organization that they belong to.

Also be sure that the panel that you’re researching has accessible contact information where you can reach an administrator with any questions or concerns. A panel having convenient contact options is also important in case you wish to directly contact them with any requests you may have in regards to safeguarding your data. Most online panels will accommodate your needs accordingly, and will refrain from storing or sharing any information that you wish to withhold, still allowing you to remain an active member in their online survey community.

Be on the lookout for membership stamps

Reputable online panels are typically members of official marketing associations. Three of the most well-known associations are the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the Marketing Research Association (MRA), and Advanced Clinical Research (ACR). These associations customarily have their own set of standards that panels agree to adhere to upon joining. For instance, the AAPOR lists their own code of ethics, and the MRA follows a set of standards referred to as their official, “Marketing Research Standards”. The ACR also follows their own set of guidelines that no data is shared with any organization that is not a current member of their organization.

By validating that a panel is associated with one of these membership organizations, you can rest assured that your data will be collected, stored, and distributed in an ethical manner.

Red flags are easy to spot

There may be a few bad eggs in the bunch in the survey world, but the red flags are very easy to identify. Nearly all experienced survey takers advise newcomers to be cautious of any sites that ask for extensive payment information or fees during the registration process. Reliable online panels don’t require any start-up fees, and do not request invasive payment information such as credit or debit card details.

It is also wise to steer clear of any online panels that are overloaded with advertisements. Not only is it a hassle to navigate through countless ads, but this could be a warning sign that they’re affiliated with a large quantity of questionable third-party sites. Professional survey panels usually present their visitors with a user-friendly interface that do not contain any sort of advertisements.

Survey taking is ultimately as safe as you make it

Online survey takers collectively complete thousands of surveys each day while being successfully compensated for their time and effort. It is understandable to have questions and concerns surrounding the online survey industry, but by following the appropriate precautions, online survey taking can be secure, fun, and a great way to earn some additional income.

SurveyPolice’s aim is to help guide survey takers towards legitimate survey sites by providing tons of informative articles, thousands of user reviews, and a forum where survey respondents can chat and share their experiences taking online surveys.

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SurveyPolice is the world's largest online survey reviews website. For over 15 years we have provided ratings on top online survey panels. Compare the best online survey websites and see which are worth joining!

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