I still remember the day I first discovered paid surveys and get paid to (GPT) sites.
At the time, I didn't really understand them, but the idea of earning money and other rewards from my computer was extremely exciting.
Soon after trying out my first couple of surveys/offers though, I got a bit worried about some of the information they were asking me for. Things like my name, email, street address – it all seemed a bit weird to give out to some random survey company.
To this day, years later, the same problem still exists. And the same questions are constantly asked:
- “Are paid surveys safe?”
- “Are GPT sites safe?”
- “Why the heck do these sites ask for so much personal information!?”
I'll answer all those questions (and more) in a second, but first, let's go over some basics:
What are Survey Sites?
Survey sites are the middlemen between paid surveys and survey takers. They help brands conduct market research and they help consumers make money from their opinions.
What are GPT Sites?
GPT sites are any sites or apps that pay you to do simple tasks. Some GPT sites offer multiple ways to earn (e.g. paid surveys + paid search + paid app downloads, etc.) and some offer a single “get-paid-to” opportunity (e.g. apps that pay you to walk).
Are Survey Sites and GPT Sites Safe?
Legitimate survey sites and GPT sites are generally safe as long as you know which sites are reputable and how to further protect yourself while using them.
Just keep in mind:
You're always going to have to give up some privacy if you want to earn money with paid surveys and other GPT tasks.
If that's a deal breaker for you, you'll need to find some other way to make money online.
What Are Paid Surveys?
Wait what? Didn't we already answer this question?
Survey sites and GPT sites are different from paid surveys. They can both HOST paid surveys, but they aren't paid surveys themselves.
Let me show you what I mean:
As you can see, Swagbucks is a GPT site with paid surveys on it.
This might seem like a tiny detail, but it's an important tiny detail. You'll see why soon.
Are Paid Surveys Safe?
Most paid surveys are safe to fill out as long as they come from a legitimate source and only ask for information your comfortable with.
Of course, you'll need to be willing to give out some basic demographic information about yourself to earn with paid surveys. That's unavoidable.
The Dangers of Paid Surveys and GPT Sites
Before we get into the safety tips, lets talk about why they're even relevant.
Here are some potential dangers of filling paid surveys and completing other types of paid tasks on GPT sites:
- Malware – Using the internet in general opens you up to risks of viruses and other malware. Using unsafe GPT sites can increase this risk even more.
- Identity theft – This is more relevant to paid surveys. Since they require you to provide information about yourself, if you're not careful about what is safe and not safe to provide, you might end up oversharing. If that info gets into the wrong hands, they could use it to steal your identity.
- Spam mail – This is an easy one to avoid (tip is below) but it's a big problem with GPT sites. Using unsafe sites can result in your email address being sold to third-party marketers, which can lead to a lot of spam.
- Hacked accounts – This is another danger due to data leaks. If someone finds your password, and you use it on other sites too, they could potential hack those other accounts.
- Wasted time – Time is money and using scam sites or surveys can lead to a lot of wasted time.
10 GPT/Paid Survey Safety Tips
Now that you know the difference between GPT/survey sites and paid surveys, and the potential dangers of using them, it's time for the safety tips!
1. Learn to How to Spot and Avoid Scams
This is undoubtedly the most important step to staying safe with survey sites and GPT sites.
If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading my guide on How to Spot Survey Scams and GPT Scams.
Here's a quick recap on some things you can look for to spot a scam site:
- Grammar and spelling mistakes – A few small mistakes might be fine, but if a site has several obvious errors, that's a huge red flag.
- They're claiming crazy earnings – Any GPT site promising “quit your job” type earnings (e.g. earn $100 a day!) is probably a scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- They want you to pay to sign up – GPT sites that charge membership fees are almost always scams.
- It's a brand new site – This doesn't always mean scam, but it's a risk to be one of the first users to try out a new site. I'd recommend sticking with well-established GPT sites to be safe.
- They're asking for sensitive data – If a site wants to know your bank account passwords, credit card numbers, and anything else extremely sensitive right off the bat, it's almost definitely a scam.
- They have no reviews or a ton of negative reviews – Check their reviews on sites like Trustpilot and Sitejabber. If there are no reviews, that's suspicious. If there are tons of reviews claiming “scammers!” that's another red flag.
2. Check for an SSL Certificate
This is actually one of the steps I look for to see if a GPT site is legit or not, but it's worth going over again. Just keep in mind it only applies to websites, not apps.
To determine if the site you're on has a valid SSL certificate, check the address bar and look for a little padlock symbol, and an https:// rather than just http://:
If you see the green padlock and https:// that's good. It means all data that passes through from your computer to the website is encrypted and secure from prying eyes.
It doesn’t necessarily mean the site is completely safe to use, but it’s a start.
3. Protect Your PII
Nope, I didn't spell pie wrong there (although you should protect that too).
PII stands for personally identifiable information. Just as it sounds, its information that someone could potentially use to identify you.
Now, as I said already, every GPT site and paid survey is going to ask you for some sort of information about you.
That being said:
There’s information that’s commonly asked for and okay to give out, and there’s info that should only be asked for in certain scenarios. Knowing the difference is key to protecting your privacy and identity.
Safe to Provide: General Demographic Information
This includes things like:
- Postal code
- Marital status
- Income range
- Employment status
The reason sites and surveys ask for this type of info is typically just to connect you with relevant offers. Since it can't be used to identify you personally, it's pretty harmless to give out.
Sometimes Safe to Provide: Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
With this type of info, you'll have to decide for yourself where you draw the line.
Here are some examples of what counts as PII and why it might be asked for:
- Full name – Commonly asked for, pretty harmless on its own.
- Email address – Used for account creation and login.
- Phone number – Some GPT sites ask for this to stop people from creating multiple accounts, completing offers multiple times, referring themselves, and doing other shady things.
- Street address – If a site pays via check, this would make sense to ask for. Otherwise, it's most likely just for identity verification or to connect you with local offers, which is pretty reasonable.
- GPS access – This is more common with apps. For example, some apps that pay you to walk require location data to confirm steps. Use your common sense with this one (e.g. Does it make sense that this app is asking for location info? Can it be turned off?).
- Drivers license – I've heard of some legitimate sites asking for this type of info for identity confirmation, but it's not common.
- Passport – Same as above.
- Bank account info – This is sometimes asked for when a site pays via direct deposit, but that's it.
- SSN/SIN – A select few sites will ask for this info for tax purposes (typically only if you've earned over $600 in a year with them). This can seem crazy, but it's the law. And hey, if a site has paid you over $600, it's probably safe to say they're legit.
However, you should NEVER provide PII on paid surveys.
Most surveys should aggregate data and only require basic demographic information to make sure you fit their survey profile. If they're getting too personal, that's a red flag.
Qmee says it best:
If the survey doesn't explicitly ask for your consent in gathering PII, and explain in detail what information will be collected, why and how it will be used, please exit the survey. You should only take part in a survey that asks for your information if you are completely comfortable with the collection and usage of this data.
If Qmee has to tell their users that, it's safe to say that sketchy surveys can pop up on ANY GPT sites – legit or not. That's why you need to be cautious all the time.
Almost Never Safe to Provide: Super Sensitive Information
I'd completely avoid GPT sites or paid surveys asking for things like:
- Passwords – No GPT site (or site in general) should ask you for your passwords to other sites and services.
- Credit card numbers – Remember, never pay to sign up for a site. Some GPT sites will have trial offers that require a credit card: you can choose whether or not to avoid those. They're typically safe if the service offered up for trial is legit, but I'd use a disposable Visa gift card just to be safe.
- SIN/SSN – As I said above, this could be asked for if you've earned over $600 in a year with a site. However, if a site asks you for it before you've even cashed out a cent, it's a scam.
Bottom line? If a site, paid survey, or offer asks you for information that you don't feel comfortable providing, avoid it.
If you can't find one easily, I'd avoid the site/app as it's most likely a scam.
- What data the site/app collects – Remember, if a site mentions collecting any of the “Never Safe to Provide” info listed above, that may indicate some safety concerns.
- Do they share it? Why? – The only data legit survey sites and GPT sites should share with third-parties should be demographic. However, some sites will share PII with trusted third-parties when it makes sense (e.g. for payment purposes or to provide you with more opportunities). Other than that, data should only be shared for emergency purposes (like if you were a criminal and the police needed your info).
- Would they sell it? Why? – Safe survey sites should, if anything, only ever sell demographic info. The only situation in which your PII should ever be sold is during a sale or merger of the business. If a site is freely selling your PII to any Joe Blow, that's clearly unsafe.
- How They Protect It – Most privacy policies should mention this (e.g. “We secure your personal info by encrypting it on a secure server.”). If they don't mention anything about this, that's a safety concern.
- How to opt out – Most safe, legitimate sites will give you a way to opt-out/delete all your stored information.
5. Use a Password Manager
Ideally, you should never use the same password twice. That way if one site's password is leaked, someone can't use it to hack into your other accounts.
Not only will a password manager help you create new, secure passwords for each individual GPT site you use, but it will also save you time when you're taking surveys. Most password managers have autofill features that will allow you to fly by most initial demographic questions.
Tip: If you're looking for a good password manager, try NordPass. It's super easy to setup and start using.
6. Create a Separate Email
Using a separate email for all of your GPT and survey site signups keeps your main email (and any data that might be connected to it) separate from all your extra money sites.
Plus, it just keeps things more organized and allows you to easily see new surveys and other offers – which can help increase your earnings.
If you're wondering where to create this second email account, I recommend Gmail, but any free email provider should work.
7. Browse in Private Mode
Or, use a separate browser and clear your cookies and cache after each session.
By doing this you’ll essentially make yourself anonymous. Third parties and other marketers won’t be able to follow you around the internet between sessions.
As a side bonus, doing this might also improve your survey qualification rates and therefore increase your hourly earnings rate.
8. Beware of Software Downloads
Most software downloads from legitimate GPT sites are safe. Still, always do your due diligence to make sure that's the case before you download anything.
This is especially important when it comes to the “get paid to install” type offers (for mobile or PC). For example:
That's a Swagbucks offer to download an MMO game. It's a completely safe and legit game, but I did a quick Google search on it first just to be sure.
There are other GPT sites and apps that will ask you to download their own pieces of software too. For example, user testing sites sometimes require you to download screen recording software to record and complete paid tests.
These types of downloads are generally safe as long as the site is legit and you're okay with their privacy standards.
Some other downloads to be aware of:
- Passive income apps – Things like the Smart Panel app and Nielsen Mobile Panel are generally safe, but you give up some privacy by having them on your device.
- Browser extensions – Again, if these come from legitimate sites (e.g. the Swagbutton, Rakuten cashback extension, etc.) they're generally safe. However, most of them track your browser history in order to function properly, so if that makes you uncomfortable, you might want to avoid them.
With any type of downloads, the safety level really varies from site to site. Always do your research before downloading anything! The next two tips are important for this too…
9. Download Anti-Malware Software
Speaking of software downloads and keeping your computer safe, anti-malware software is a must-have for defense against viruses and other unwanted intruders.
I use Malwarebytes myself and I highly recommend it. The free version is great.
Note: Anti-malware is different from antivirus. If you're on Windows you should already have Windows Defender as your antivirus. Combined with Malwarebytes you'll be secure from most threats.
10. Read Reviews
Because the GPT space is so huge and constantly evolving, reading reviews of the particular site you're interested in is probably the best way to learn about the safety and security of that specific site and what it has to offer.
I do thorough safety checks on any site I review, so feel free to search my archives to see if I've already reviewed a site you're interested in:
If I haven't reviewed the site yet, contact me and ask me about it, leave a comment on this post, or check reviews on places like Reddit, Trustpilot, Sitejabber, or SurveyPolice. Those are all trustworthy sources.
Speaking of sticking with trusted GPT sites…
Where to Find Safe Surveys and GPT Sites
By sticking with vetted, safe GPT sites, you'll already have a head start on the steps above as you won't have to worry about scams.
Check out these articles for the best “get paid to” sites:
- Top Free Online Survey Sites That Pay Cash – Includes additional information and earning tips.
- Sites That Will Pay You to Test Websites and Apps – Not extremely consistent work, but high paying.
Note: Even with legitimate, safe sites, you'll still need to be cautious with third-party offers. Just something to be aware of!
While most legit paid surveys and GPT sites work hard to provide a safe and fun experience for their users, it's impossible for them to be 100% secure.
You’re always going to have to give up some of your precious data in order to sign up and make money, and there are always going to be vulnerabilities. That's just the nature of the internet.
But, if you use the tips above and stay on your toes, you can earn some extra money while keeping your information and devices as protected as possible.
Are online surveys safe in your opinion? Are you going to start or continue using GPT sites to make money online? Leave a comment!
- Dangers of Paid Online Surveys – HowStuffWorks.com
- GPT Website Safety Tips – Reddit.com
- Are Surveys Safe? A GPT Privacy Guide – BeerMoneyOnline.com
- Online Survey Tips to Keep You Safe – SurveyPolice.com
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