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9Nov/100

Your Personal Information and Paid Surveys

Protecting personal information is priority number one for many people who shop, surf and socialize online. However, this is a touchy subject for both companies who are administering paid surveys and those who want to take them. While it’s understandable that you would want to keep some of your information hush-hush, letting go of basic contact information, demographics and even what you think about products, services and issues is essential when taking online surveys. After all, sharing information is the point of taking surveys online.

 It’s no secret that people are afraid of scams, with news reports sensationalizing identity theft and other fraud. It’s not to say that these criminal acts aren’t happening to unsuspecting Internet users, they just not something you’ll find if you sign up with a reputable survey site. For one thing, legitimate companies gather data at an aggregate level meaning that you are never mentioned by name or in another personally identifying way unless it is fully disclosed before the survey starts.  Companies you give online surveys just want to have data from generic “types” such as “women over 40 who life in California” or “men 18-25 who play video games more than 20 hours a week.”

Although you are considered a nameless person in a sense, this doesn’t mean you can sign up to take surveys as a Jane Doe or a John Smith. In the same vein, don’t report other fictionalized data as the truth such as a changed birthday, educational status, income level or more. This misinformation will skew the data for the company and possibly cause a product or service to be developed, manufactured, or marketed in the wrong way. Some people even mark down false hobbies and past-times on their profiles hoping that they will be invited to join in additional paid surveys. This is also a bad idea, because you may not be able to expertly talk about an issue in the way that corporation may be expecting.

Respondents always need to be completely honest about name and other personal data when taking online surveys. Think about the end result of using a fake name aside from harming the integrity of the survey project – your payment check will not be able to get deposited into your account! That is a waste of everyone’s time. And, if using the wrong mailing address guarantees the money won’t even make to the right doorstep. Also, if you are caught using false information you will be dropped from the study and, most likely, the survey site as well.

The safest means of finding paid surveys to take is to get your leads and invitations from a reputable survey database that has done all the legwork and verification for you. Take it a step further by checking the BBB, reading through survey site forums, and reading through the privacy policy of each survey sight. And, let the alarm go off and drop the survey like a hot potato if it asked for information that is too personal such as Social Security numbers and credit card accounts.

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