It’s not uncommon for consumers to fall victim to email survey scams. Paid online surveys have become a haven for Internet scam artists who use the surveys to steal personal and financial information from their victims.While there are legitimate online survey companies, they generally do not pay large sums of money for taking the surveys, and the participants must invest a great deal of time in order to get paid. BBB reminds consumers to steer clear of fake offers promising large amounts of cash in exchange for filling out surveys.

“Paid online surveys are frequently not what they seem,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas said. “By abusing the brand names and logos of well-known companies and products to make them look trustworthy, scam artists are able to obtain personal and financial information from participants.”

BBB provides consumers with the following ways to spot a survey email scam:

  • The email or text is unsolicited. One of the most commonly used tactics for scam artists is to send bulk emails or text messages. In general, it’s best not to click on links that come in unsolicited emails.
  • Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colors, logos and header of an established organization. Scammers can also make links look like they lead to legitimate websites and emails appear to come from a different sender.
  • They offer too much money. As is common with most work from home type scams, anything which pays a lot of money for little effort and little experience is most likely a scam. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • They use high pressure tactics. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have had time to think. Always be wary of messages urging you to act immediately or face a negative consequence.
  • They ask you for account information. Legitimate businesses do not ask for credit card numbers or banking information on customer surveys. If they do ask for personal information, such as an address or phone number, be sure to readthe privacy policy on their website.
  • Communications are full of scammer grammar. Watch for typos, strange phrasing and poor grammar. Scammers can easily copy a brand’s logo and email format, however awkward wording and poor grammar are typically a giveaway that the message is a scam.
  • Sender email or phone number does not match the company brand name. It’s not uncommon for scam artists to disguise their email addresses or spoof phone numbers, making the message appear to come from a legitimate source. But they don’t always use it. Look out for contact information which doesn’t match the brand used in the email message.
  • Hovering over URLs reveal their true destination. Typically, the hyperlinked text will say one thing but the link will point somewhere else. Make sure the links actually lead to the business’ official website, not a variation of the domain name.
  • When in doubt, do a quick web search. If the survey is a scam, you may find alerts or complaints from other consumers. The organization’s legitimate website may also have further information.

For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at 903-581-5704 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.