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The bottom line is, if the hype for online paid surveys sounds too good to be true, it likely is. That's the safest way to screen out "offers" that hype big rewards for small investments of time or money. Don't be fooled by:

Testimonials - Ropers and shills typically write these for scams, not satisfied customers.

Documented Proof - Some questionable paid survey sites provide checks and other documental replications as "proof." But just because someone made money at least once, doesn't mean that you will. Besides, with today's computer technology, anybody can counterfeit just about any document and make it look authentic.

Guarantees - Don't believe guarantees that promise the Moon. paid survey sites can't possibly guarantee you much of anything, except that they'll refund your fees if you're not satisfied. But good luck collecting your refund if it's a paid surveys scam.

Reliable- and Trusted-Site Logos - Some questionable paid survey sites display these logos to indicate that they are self-regulating in compliance with the standards represented by the logos. But even legit logos can be stolen, such as those trademarked by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with a simple right-click of the computer mouse. Click the logos to see where they lead. If they don't lead to valid reports at reputable sites (such as the BBB's official, national reliability site, the URL for which begins with https://www.bbbonline.org/) or the reports are unfavorable, be wary.

The "fine print" at questionable paid survey sites often contradicts much of what their hype implies. (That's how they try to cover themselves legally.) Don't let the hype alone sell you. Read all of the fine print too and ask questions if it's vague or you don't understand it. Think twice about submitting your personal information to any paid surveys site that does not provide a clear privacy policy or arouses your suspicion in any other way. Also read disclaimers, terms, conditions and any other fine print. Avoid sites that don't answer your questions in a satisfactory and timely manner. Be wary of conducting business with sites that list only email or PO box addresses for questions and other matters, as they might be fly-by-night, paid survey scams.

Perform "whois" lookups to reveal if paid survey sites were registered by proxy. If so, be wary of doing business with them too. Site owners might be hiding their contact information behind proxy services, because they're running paid survey scams. Whois lookups will also tell you if different sites were launched by the same owners (unless they were registered by proxy). If so, be wary about that too. Owners might have launched multiple sites so to make their "industry" appear to be more legit, dupe you into buying the same list of paid surveys more than once, or both.

Check with the BBB for complaints against specific online paid survey sites and their owners. But, be aware that, just because there are no complaints, it doesn't mean that all who have conducted business with the sites are 100-percent satisfied. It just means that no one has yet complained to the BBB about those specific sites. More about that is below.

Browse scam forums, such as Scam.com and RipOffReport.com, for messages from consumers who think they've been duped by online paid survey scams. But, proceed with caution. Some messages are posted by ropers and shills pretending to "rescue" those who've been duped by paid survey scams or who are looking to avoid it. For example, the "rescuers" might say that all online paid surveys are scams, except for the "wonderful opportunities" they've found. But, what they don't tell you, is they profit from recommending the "wonderful opportunities". (The same goes for many sites that claim to screen out paid survey scams.) Scam-forum moderators typically remove such messages. But, natch, they'll remain posted until the moderators screen them.

For more information about avoiding scams, see the consumer advice from the FTC and BBB. But, although both have issued general warnings about easy-money schemes (such as work-at-home and Internet business-opportunity scams), at this writing neither has specifically warned about online paid surveys. To issue specific warnings, both agencies typically require many complaints in short order. But many victims don't file complaints, because they're embarrassed that they were duped. Additionally, online paid surveys are a fairly new easy-money scheme at this writing. So, the agencies might not have collected enough complaints to issue specific warnings. But this writer is willing to bet that it won't be long before they do.

If you've been ripped-off by online paid survey scams, as indicated you may file complaints with the FTC and BBB. You may also file complaints with the U.S. government's Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

One of the questions I get most often is how to tell whether a work from home job posting is a scam or a legitimate job. There are some warning flags. In addition, there are sites that can help you determine what's a real work at home job and what isn't.

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