The Risks of Making Money Online and How to Avoid Them
In the past decade, making money online has turned into a dream lifestyle for many, especially youngsters. As internet technology evolves and more businesses seek an online presence, the opportunities are growing proportionately.
For example, you can earn free Google Play codes by simply completing daily tasks online. You can later redeem these codes as a Google Play balance.
While such platforms pose excellent opportunities to earn steadily, they’re not free from scrutiny. Of course, the biggest concern is the safety of your sensitive data and the money you earn.
In this post, let us outline the biggest risks associated with making money online and how to avoid the consequences.
The Biggest Risks Associated with Making Money Online
At the end of the day, it comes down to what platform you’re turning to as a source of earning. Due to the nature of this industry and the consistent flow of money, bad actors are always looking for opportunities to intercept transactions.
Here are some examples of common risks you have to withstand.
This is undoubtedly the biggest concern when it comes to making money online. How do you know which platforms are legit and which ones are trying to rob you? Typically, scammers use popular communication channels such as emails, websites, digital ads, or text messages.
To lure the uninformed recipients, scammers bait these surveys with promises of rewards such as gift cards, sweepstakes entries, real money prizes, and even cash redemptions. Depending on what type of tasks these surveys entail, we can categorize online scams into a few categories.
While identity theft may not appear as a bigger risk than money theft, it is. In simple terms, bad actors can extract your unique identity information such as social security number, national ID number, passport number, etc.
From there, the fraudsters can either sell your information on the dark web or run elaborate schemes on their own. They can apply for new loans, credit cards, and even mortgages in your name, critically damaging your financial health.
It’s an obvious downfall of paid online surveys or task-based campaigns. Money theft scams can unfold in two primary ways. The scammers either ask for money in advance to “give” you the opportunity to earn more down the line. Or, they can get their work done and deny the payment later.
Personality Quiz Scams
This point is somewhat an extension of the first one. Personality quizzes often involve questions like your preferred pets, favorite food, dream travel destinations, your family’s maiden name and plenty of other intimate questions.
Interestingly, these questions are often used for identity verification across many online portals. The untamable urge for humans to know more about themselves fuels these scams.
Every time you see an abundance of anything, consider it a scam online. Bad actors try to push as many lucrative offers to as many people as possible. All they need is a few people to entertain the traps by entering personal details like date of birth, household income, or number of people in the household. While these pieces of information may seem harmless, they’re a big source of data compromise.
Business Compromise Scams
This approach is quite unique and it primarily targets businesses through uninformed employees. Using the same tactics shared in the identity theft section, scammers can compromise confidential company information and ask for ransoms.
Unreliable Payment Methods
A telltale sign of a shady online survey platform is unknown and precarious payment methods. It makes sense because the primary motivation for anyone to invest their time in surveys is to make money. Due to the “online” nature of these platforms, it’s not always possible for the participants to withdraw their money via cash.
That’s where these payment methods come into play. The overall nature of the online survey industry has failed to gain the trust of reputable financial institutions, redirecting them to not-very-strict payment method providers.
Now, the safety compromise may happen in multiple ways when you’re dealing with unsecured payment methods. Even if the survey platform has every intention to pay you, hackers can easily intercept the transactions. In some cases, the platform owners are involved in the process of denying payments to surveyors.
The worst thing about compromised payment methods is that fraudsters can take not only your money but also your sensitive financial information. This can lead to serious crimes such as identity theft, tax fraud, and bank account drain.
Breach of Online Privacy
Online privacy is one of the biggest concerns among world leaders. Primarily, it’s the rapid development in machine learning and data analysis that fuels the need for more data on the world population.
Big data has become so important for businesses to function that the black market is now a major marketplace to get it. You already know about the risks of financial information theft. The scope of online data breaches goes beyond the financial realm and harms your personal life.
Imagine bad actors knowing all about your browsing habits, where you buy groceries from, where you service your car, and even what you do online at any given moment. If this is not a massive breach of online privacy, we don’t know what is.
Tedious Work that May Not Pay
Anyone who has participated in online surveys knows how tedious the tasks usually are. You have to sit through hundreds of questions to make what’s not even minimum wage every hour. If paid online surveys are the only opportunity you’re pursuing for an online income, chances are high you’re not meeting your basic needs
When paired with the risk of not getting paid after all this work, it’s only normal if you feel frustrated. It’s not fair that bad actors and fraudsters on the internet are manipulating your intentions for their own gain.
Let’s see what we can do about it.
How to Protect Yourself from Online Money-Making Scams
Most of the online survey platforms are offshore and are not regulated by any particular government. As unfortunate as it is, law enforcement can’t help you if you fall victim to one of these scams.
Thankfully, you can deploy preventative measures as well as polish your judgment to spot fraudulent mediums that offer money online.
Steer Clear of Offers Too Good to Be True
One of the easiest ways to lure humans into a trap is by offering them money, especially if it’s a big sum. Before you jump into a survey that promises a month’s salary for a day’s worth of work, analyze the feasibility of the offer.
Ask yourself, how can the survey promise an amount? What are you doing for them so that they can pay you generously after securing their profits? The deeper you dig, the easier it becomes to understand the flaws of the offers.
Look for Website Encryption
Although it’s not a foolproof way to protect your interests online, it offers at least some protection. An SSL website encryption signifies that the connection between your browser and the website’s server is secure.
As long as the survey platform you choose is legit, the encryption will defend against any third-party attempts to intercept transactions. The encryption also protects your personal and financial data.
There Must be a Company Name
When you find an online paid survey, don’t sign up right away. Look for the company name and try to dig up some information beforehand. If the platform is legit and other people have had success with it, you’ll find at least some mention of it somewhere on the internet.
If you can’t find absolutely anything, you'd better keep away from it. It’s possible that the platform is brand-new and hasn’t had time to build up an online presence. If that’s the case, we recommend waiting until you can find tangible information.
Check the Domain Age
This is one of the easiest ways to spot a shady website, but very few people know about it. See, scammers can’t run a fraudulent website for a long time simply because the internet authorities will take it down after receiving reports. Most survey scams happen with new websites.
A clever way to tap into the information is by checking the domain age. There are plenty of free tools online that allow you to check the domain age of a website. If you see that a survey website is registered only a few days ago, don’t sign up or share any personal information.
Use Reliable payment methods Only
The primary motivation for bad actors is money. It’s always money. And that’s what makes payment methods a major point for data breaches. If you want to make money online safely, there’s no alternative to using reliable payment methods that offer encrypted portals. If you see a website offering only one withdrawal method and you don’t know about it, don’t use it.
Most survey scams or other types of online scams occur due to a lack of user awareness. We hope this post is helpful for you in distinguishing fake survey platforms from real ones.