If you’re a savvy internet user, you’ve probably come across online surveys promising you quick cash and rewards for just a few minutes of your time. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, unfortunately, in India, many of these online surveys are scams that can steal your personal information, compromise your online security, and leave you empty-handed.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of these scams and know how to spot and avoid them.
In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the world of online survey scams in India.
We’ll show you how these scams work, the red flags to look out for, and most importantly, how to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams.
So, let’s get started and ensure you can navigate online surveys safely and confidently.
Online survey scams explained
Online survey scams have become increasingly prevalent in India, with unsuspecting users being targeted by malicious actors.
These scammers use various methods to entice people into completing surveys, such as promising cash rewards or other incentives.
In reality, the victims are often tricked into providing personal information that can be used for identity theft and other financial crimes.
But why now?
Well, turns out, they are becoming more common in India due to the country’s rapid growth of digital services and online activities.
According to Statista, India had over 749 million internet users across the country in 2020.
This figure was projected to grow to over 1.5 billion users by 2040!
As expected, scamming will continue.
See, scammers in India take advantage of the lack of awareness around such schemes and target those who are unaware of their presence.
To make matters worse, these scams can be difficult to detect because they often appear legitimate at first glance.
And that’s why it is crucial more than ever for you to understand how to identify and avoid these types of scams in order to protect themselves from financial loss and potential identity theft.
How online survey scams work in India
Online survey scams work in various ways, and scammers always devise new tactics to trick unsuspecting victims.
Here are some of the most common ways that online survey scams operate:
a. Fake survey websites
This is a growing problem not only here in India, but around the world!
They often appear as legitimate offers of rewards or cash, but are actually scams.
Fake survey websites work by convincing users to sign up and complete surveys for rewards, such as vouchers or money.
However, once the user has completed the survey and attempted to redeem their reward, they will find that the website does not offer any reward.
In some cases, fake survey websites may also require users to provide personal information such as banking details and credit card numbers in order to redeem their promised reward.
Once this information is provided it can be used for identity theft purposes or other financial scams.
Such websites can also lead to email spam and phishing attacks by collecting email addresses from those who sign up for surveys.
b. Personal information scams
Personal information scams, also called phishing scams, are becoming increasingly common in India.
Unlike traditional online survey scams in India which involve a fraudster asking for money in exchange for survey responses or rewards, personal information scams involve the victim’s personal data.
Typically, scammers will send an email or direct message to unsuspecting victims asking them to provide their name, address, bank account details and other sensitive information.
How does it work?
These scam emails or messages can appear legitimate and often use official-looking logos and language to make them seem more realistic.
They may also ask the victim to click on a link that leads to a website that looks like it is affiliated with the company they claim to represent but instead steals their data when they enter in their information.
Once scammers have access to your personal information, they can use it for identity theft and financial gain.
c. Fake incentives
This is another common tactic employed by online survey scammers in India.
Here, they entice unsuspecting participants into completing surveys with the promise of earning rewards such as vouchers, cash payments, or other prizes.
The scam works like this:
A survey participant will register for an online survey and complete it in exchange for a promised reward.
However, once the survey is completed, no reward is ever received.
This type of deception can be particularly difficult to detect since scammers may use official-looking websites and emails to lure victims into participating in their surveys.
Some scammers may offer rewards that appear too good to be true, such as large sums of money for completing just one questionnaire.
d. Payment fraud
Payment fraud is a form of online scam in India which can be difficult to identify and avoid.
It works by criminals fooling victims into providing personal information, such as bank account details or credit card numbers, in order to receive rewards for completing surveys, often unknowingly giving away access to their accounts.
Payment fraud is especially prevalent in India due to the lack of consumer awareness about how it works and how easy it is for scammers to take advantage.
Victims may be tricked into thinking they are signing up for a legitimate survey site in India and then asked for personal data with the promise of rewards on completion.
The worse part?
It can also happen on legit online shopping sites with insecure checkout systems.
Once the criminal has obtained this information, they will use it to make unauthorized payments from the victim’s account.
The most common types of payment fraud involve identity theft, phishing scams and money laundering schemes.
Red flags to look out for
As you’ve seen, scams are around us all the time we are online in India.
The question is, how do you identify the fake from legit?
a. Unsolicited emails
Unsolicited emails (also known as phishing emails) are one of the most common ways that scammers in India attempt to access personal information from their victims.
These emails usually appear to be sent from a legitimate source, such as a bank or online store, and often contain links leading to malicious sites.
The simple rule is; if you receive an unsolicited email, it is likely a scam.
Phishing emails can often be identified by their generic content and poor grammar.
They will often ask for sensitive information such as passwords or bank account numbers, which no reputable company would ever request through email.
And these questions is how scammers often attempt to gain access to personal accounts and steal money from unsuspecting victims.
So, next time you see an unsolicited email in your inbox, hit that delete button without opening it.
b. Too good to be true incentives
Another one of the telltale signs that a survey scam in India is at play is when an offer or incentive seems too good to be true.
For example, if the reward for taking a survey is significantly higher than the going rate for such activities, then this should raise red flags.
Be wary of any offers that require you to provide personal details before you can claim your rewards or payments; legitimate surveys should never ask for sensitive information upfront like banking credentials and passwords.
c. Request for personal information
When taking an online survey in India, be aware of scams that may request personal information.
Scammers often pose as legitimate companies and ask for personal information such as phone numbers, addresses, bank account details, or credit card numbers.
In some cases they may even ask for nudes or photos which can be used to blackmail the recipient.
Remember that no legitimate company will ever request any of this information during an online survey.
The best way to protect yourself from a scam is never to provide any personal information during an online survey.
If a survey appears suspicious or requests too much detailed information, it is best not to proceed with the survey at all.
d. Unsecured websites
Another indicator of a fraudulent survey is whether the website is secure or unsecured.
Unsecure websites do not require an encryption protocol such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to protect your data from being hacked or stolen.
These sites typically have URLs beginning with “http” instead of “https, ” which indicates a secure connection.
If you don’t see the “s” in the URL, it is likely unsecure and should be avoided.
Alternatively, look for a ‘lock’ on the website URL.
If you are on a survey site in India, but doesn’t have a secure connection, close that site fast?!
How to protect yourself from online survey scams in India
Now, you know the redflags.
How do you protect you and your loved ones?
a. Be cautious of unsolicited emails
As mentioned, these emails are fraudulent attempts to obtain your personal information by disguising as a legitimate source.
Hackers use this method to deceive unsuspecting users into providing confidential data such as passwords and bank account details.
The most effective way of to protect yourself from phishing emails is to never open any links sent by unknown sources; if there’s an attachment included in the email it should not be downloaded either.
If the message appears suspicious or out-of-the-ordinary, it is likely that it’s part of a scam attempt.
b. Research the survey website
When using an online survey site in India, your protection relies on researching the website and verifying its legitimacy.
Start by looking up user reviews to get an idea of other people’s experiences with the survey site.
Also, look through any FAQ pages or terms and conditions the website may have.
This will provide you with more information about how it works and what measures are in place for protecting your data.
Furthermore, check for any security certifications that can show whether the website is secured with encryption technology.
Verifying all of these details will help to protect you from any potential scams or fraudulent activity associated with online surveys.
Make sure only to give out personal information if it’s absolutely necessary and avoid inputting credit card numbers or banking details unless the survey site explicitly states that it is secure enough for such sensitive information.
c. Do not give out personal information
Protecting your personal information is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid online survey scams in India.
DO NOT give out your name, address, or phone number, protect yourself from becoming a victim of these frauds.
Again, never provide financial details like bank account numbers or credit card numbers to anyone requesting it over an email or other online channel.
Be aware that even if someone claiming to be a legitimate business entity asks for this type of information, it does not guarantee their trustworthiness.
And if it is absolutely necessary, make sure that any website asking for this kind of data is secure by looking for the “https” indicator in the URL and ensuring that all transactions are encrypted with TLS technology.
e. Use a virtual private network (VPN)
A virtual private network (VPN) is a secure online service that can help protect you when participating in online surveys.
It encrypts all of the data sent over your connection, protecting it from hackers and other malicious actors.
Any sensitive information you send or receive while participating in an online survey will be kept safe and secure.
And it can also hide your IP address, making it harder for scammers to track you down.
Using a VPN is easy – simply download the software, install it on your device, and connect to a server located in India.
This ensures that your data is encrypted while travelling across the internet.
Furthermore, many VPN providers offer additional features such as advanced security protocols and kill switches to enhance your privacy further when completing surveys online.
f. Use anti-virus software
Using anti-virus software can help protect you from online survey scams in India.
These tools will detect malicious or suspicious computer activities and alert you of potential risks.
It also prevents cybercriminals from accessing personal information stored on your device, as it automatically deletes any viruses and malicious codes that may be present in the system.
Additionally, it will scan any emails or websites visited to ensure they are safe before allowing access.
So, when completing online surveys, avoid the risk of becoming a victim of an online survey scam in India by installing an anti-virus software on your computer.
NOTE: A good anti-virus program can also provide real-time protection against newly identified threats.
Steps to take if you have been scammed
What should you do if you have been scammed?
a. Report the scam to the authorities
Reporting online survey scams in India is crucial in order to protect yourself and others from potential financial losses.
The main authorities that can be notified include the cybercrime branch of the police, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), or consumer forums.
When contacting the cybercrime branch of the police, they will investigate whether any law violations have occurred and take necessary action against those responsible.
You can file a complaint with them online or visit your local police station to do so in person.
The RBI should be informed if money has been transferred illegally via electronic means such as debit/credit cards or net banking services.
Lastly, consumer forums allow consumers to register complaints against companies and seek redressal for their grievances.
This can be done either through written applications sent by post or through an online portal hosted by some consumer forums.
b. Cancel any credit/debit cards used
Another one of the best ways to protect yourself from online survey scams in India is by canceling any credit or debit cards that have been used.
See, unscrupulous scammers can use your card details to purchase goods from online stores without your knowledge.
Canceling these cards as soon as possible can help reduce the risk of falling victim to fraud.
It may also be wise to inform your bank about the attempted scam.
The bank may be able to provide you with additional security measures such as monitoring your account for suspicious activity or blocking certain types of transactions from taking place on your card.
Banks usually have a policy in place where they will issue a new card if yours is stolen or lost due to fraudulent activities – this could prove useful if you’ve already become a victim of an online survey scam in India.
c. Change passwords for all accounts
This will help protect personal information from being stolen or otherwise compromised by malicious actors who may be looking to access private data.
Changing passwords regularly is also a good idea, as it makes it more difficult for hackers or scammers to gain access via brute force attacks.
AND when creating new passwords, make sure they are unique and complex enough that no one can easily guess them.
Combining upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols helps create strong passwords that are hard to crack.
Avoid using usernames or other common words as part of the password.
And consider enabling two-factor authentication in addition to changing your password if it’s an option offered by the service provider in order to maximize security levels.
d. Monitor bank accounts for any suspicious activity
Regularly checking the account balance and reconciling it with your recent purchases and payments can help identify any fraudulent charges or withdrawals that may have been made without your knowledge.
Additionally, signing up for email alerts from your banking institution when funds are deposited into or withdrawn from your account can be useful for instantly identifying any unusual activity on your bank accounts.
And for extra security, set up two-factor authentication when logging into your online banking platform.
This added layer of security requires a one-time code to be entered before access to the user’s account information can be granted.
This is a is a reminder to be cautious and aware of the dangers that exist.
Understand the risks associated with participating in online surveys, AND take measures to protect themselves from these scams.
A recap of the key points discussed throughout this article include:
- Be wary when giving away personal information such as phone numbers, email addresses or bank account details during an online survey;
- Do your research beforehand – read reviews or ask friends who may have experience with similar sites;
- Be mindful of offers and giveaways that are too good to be true; and
- Never pay money upfront or out-of-pocket for taking part in an online survey.
Finally, stay vigilant when engaging in any type of financial transaction online.