Skip nav to main content.

8 Ways to Spot a Survey Scam

8 Ways to spot a survey scam

Survey scams are almost as old as the internet. Spend just an hour online, and there’s a good chance you’ll be running into an ad for a “super quick” survey promising big money or prizes for just a few minutes of your time. 

What happens, though, is that the scammer walks away with a free survey, or worse, your information or money. The wary consumer can spot a survey scam easily, but unfortunately, fraudsters are becoming much more sophisticated at luring victims into their schemes. 

Don’t fall for it! Here are eight ways to spot a survey scam:

1. You have to pay to participate in a survey

There’s no reason to pay to take a survey. If you’re targeted by an ad asking you to take a survey and pay for the privilege of doing so, it’s not worth it – and probably designed to scam you. 

2. You have to share sensitive info before you can take the survey

The survey host wants you to think it’s no big deal to share your Social Security number with a company you’ve never heard of before. But guess what – you’re looking at potential identity theft. That IS a pretty big deal!

3. They advertise on Craigslist and similar sites asking for your email address

“Survey companies” that advertise on sites like Craigslist asking you to share your email address are usually fronts for scam rings. Once they have this information, they’ll spam you with scammy emails, phishing schemes, malware, or worse. 

4. They offer too much money

If a survey offers you $100 for a 20-question survey that shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to complete, you can be sure you’re looking at a scam. The pay for authentic survey-taking is generally on a much more modest scale. 

5. You have to download attachments

Any time an unknown contact asks you to download attachments to your device, be super-suspicious. More often than not, these are scams, and the attachments contain malware. 

6. They advertise aggressively

If the same solicitation for survey participation keeps popping up across your screen, you may be looking at a scam. 

7. They give you an hour to pre-qualify for the survey

Often, a survey company will want you to answer a few pre-qualifying questions to see if you fit their desired demographic. Scammers exploit the prequalification by having you answer dozens of questions and informing you that you have run out of time and cannot participate in the survey. This limit is false, of course, and the questions you just answered were the survey questions; only now you won’t be getting paid for it. Check if a survey has a time limit on the prequalification before you start answering questions.

8. They require an outrageous minimum before payment

Scammers sometimes require their targets to take an outrageous number of surveys before they receive their first paycheck. Often, the victim will just quit before they qualify for a payment.

Survey-taking can be a great way to earn pocket money, but survey scams are rampant. Follow these 8 ways to spot a survey scam and keep your personal information protected! If you like this post, make sure to check out the MoneySmart Tips Blog for more great money tips.


. Never give information in an email or text. Be 100% certain you are speaking to Elevate, your doctor or other trusted sources when on the phone. PROTECT YOURSELF