How To Recognize Amazon Survey Scams

As a regular shopper, you may have stumbled at an Amazon survey promotion. The ad promises to reward hundreds of dollars to the first people who complete the survey of the day.

When you first find it, you may wonder why Amazon would want such programs. If you’ve tried to make money with online surveys, you may have joined sites like Swagbucks or Surveyjunkie. But none of the mainstream platforms ever mention Amazon surveys.

Amazon is one of the biggest brands in the world: they have the best opportunities for almost everything. However, if you googled “sites to make money with surveys,” Amazon doesn’t appear anywhere. Why?

Does it mean the survey program doesn’t exist? If so, why are there so many ads, emails, and phone calls about it? Your suspicions are right.

Why Would Amazon Offer Paid Surveys?

The retail giant has millions of customers, being each of them tracked in their databases. They may know about your shopping interests better than you. That’s because Amazon cares about its customers and wants to offer customized service.

Amazon surveys often appear as research groups (ARP and ARC). Every year, they send invitations to several people, but only those who qualify may get rewards for the task.

When it comes to fraud, those look as legit as the official programs. The goal is indeed to collect information, and not precisely your opinions: just your bank details.

Naturally, people find it suspicious. To remove the skepticism, imposters will promise unrealistic rewards to convince the greedy. After you complete the steps, you won’t get anything, however: you’ll be risking your money and identity.

Recognizing Survey Scams

Advanced con men usually reveal a red flag or two intentionally. Since they want the easiest target, they want to filter the most aware victims out of the scheme and not waste time.

Luckily, anybody can prevent different Amazon scams before taking any risk. The following red flags make the difference evident for even those who have never taken an online survey.

#1 They Send You Outside Of Amazon

Here’s the excuse: Amazon is so big that they own many sub platforms. You may browse outside of Amazon.com, but you’re still dealing with the same brand.

Well, you shouldn’t land on an Amazon sub-website when you get an email from Amazon.com (or their country domain equivalents, for example, Amazon.de). Scammers try to send you to a website they can control, thus stealing your information.

No excuse is worth working outside the primary platform. You can go ahead and claim the (fake) prize only if you’re okay with potentially losing your whole bank account.

#2 Intrusive Reach-out Method

As mentioned, Amazon Research groups work with yearly invitations. They certainly don’t email anyone, and they don’t do advertising, phone calls, or mass-spam emails.

Besides, Amazon selects candidates based on conditions:

  • How long have you been shopping on Amazon?
  • How much have you bought year after year?
  • What other accounts do you have (Prime, AWS, Brand Registry)?
  • What’s your age/ gender/ location?

Don’t scammers know it? Why are they using these intrusive marketing tactics? Because they have no other way to reach out to you.

#3 They Ask For Sensitive Information

You complete the simple seven-step survey. However, you cannot collect the prize unless you verify that you’re a real customer.

You will need to re-enter all your data: user, password, IDs, and credit card number. After you complete, congratulations! Your prize is processing. When can you expect to receive it? Never.

Be sure identity theft will follow.

Here’s what makes no sense. As a customer, Amazon already has all your information. Since they protect our data by law, we can trust them. If this survey comes from the same brand, why is Amazon requesting your data again?

If they don’t have it, that suggests you’re on a fake Amazon site. Only the real database knows your credentials, not even their employees.

#4 They Promise You Money

What’s wrong with getting paid for surveys? Scammers promise rewards Amazon never offers.

For example, everyone assumes that if you complete the test, you get some extra dollars on your PayPal account. 99% of the time, Amazon will only pay you with vouchers to shop in their store, not virtual money. They should offer you a gift card, not a bank transfer. 

Scammers miss this detail when crafting their ads and adding fake testimonials: “Not a scam. I just got $130 from Amazon on Venmo!”

Also, ask them what options they have to claim the prize. If the answer is “any method you want,” it’s a scam.

#5 Incoherent Payments

Without you knowing it, tons of 3rd-party websites benefit from your Internet data for marketing purposes. It makes sense to charge for sharing that information, and you should never pay to complete a survey.

Most con men use a simple trick: “Give me $10 now, and I give back $20 later.” Perhaps you don’t pay the survey, but you need to buy a subscription to register.

Now, each payment trick leads to different rip-offs:

  • If you pay upfront with a credit card, they may steal your bank account.
  • If you pay with a gift card/money order/bitcoin, you can’t refund your money.
  • If you wire money after receiving an “Amazon check,” you’ll lose all of it.

Scammers will use different confidence tricks to win your trust.

In a real survey, Amazon won’t ask for money. For the reward, they add it to your purchase balance: no actions required.

#6 You Qualify Instantly

The more customers Amazon has, the more selective they need to be to get the right information. Whenever you apply for a survey group, expect 80% of applicants to get rejected due to buying habits and demographics.

Otherwise, people would spend hours grinding for dollars on survey sites. It doesn’t work unless you’re their ideal customer, in which case you take the test once. 

Have you just been lucky? Or are you applying for a fake survey page? When it comes to sharing data with thieves, everybody qualifies.

#7 You Receive An Advance Payment

Upfront rewards serve to prove the victim that their system works, so they involve more. You get a $300 check, cash out, and find the money on your balance. So you choose to listen to the scammer and hopefully get a bigger reward.

If you get paid upfront, be sure the con man will ask you to share it at some point. It wouldn’t be a problem if the check didn’t cancel two weeks later

If you got free money for no reason/by accident, don’t get too excited. Assume the sender will claim it back soon and don’t touch it.

#8 Unrealistic Rewards

If qualifying was hard, it’s even harder to make a living off of surveys, if not impossible. Yet, the offers promise you over $100 for each ten-minute survey. Try to do the math for the average 8h workday.

Well, none of us ever got the $100+. But somewhere in the middle, you’ll need to either pay a fee or add your credit card to register. “Share your credit card so that we know where to send the prize!”

Does it make sense to get $130 per survey, earning more than the average Amazon employee? How much would you pay someone to complete a ten-minute form?

#9 Limited-time Offer!

Amazon wants up-to-date information. And if they offer rewards, there’s a certain amount of people they can accept. 

Time limits remind people of the extra money opportunity. Unnecessary deadlines create fear of missing out instead. Limited offers make sense, except when they force you to make decisions within minutes.

You will lose more money due to impulsive actions rather than missing opportunities. Don’t have enough time to think about it? That’s because they don’t want you to do it: revealing the scam is a matter of time.

Source: pcrisk.com

#10 Software Required

Before you can start the survey, you need to configure your device in a certain way.

  • You need to allow unknown sources from your browser settings.
  • You need to install the linked browser plugins.
  • You need to unzip this file and execute the “survey assistant.”

Unless the survey requires video/voice recording, you don’t need extra programs. Installing unnecessary files may cause the survey app not to work on different devices. And let’s not get into malware trojans.

Types Of Amazon Survey Fraud

Survey scams don’t stop surprising us:

  • Imposters are behind surveys most of the time. Amazon has nothing to do.
  • Following risky instructions may allow hackers to wipe your computer data, bank account, or virtual identity.

Imagine you found a survey scam but chose to move forward due to curiosity. That interaction is invaluable for the scammer, even if the scheme failed. Now that they see you as a “hot lead,” they will go after you with unrelated scams at random times.

One day it could be phishing, then IRS impersonation, fake malware notices, SMS chain letters, or get-rich-quick schemes. If they know you have money, they will get creative. Here are five examples:

#1 Phishing

As the most common type, phishing messages disguise as Amazon surveys for a reward. Here, the only information that matters is your credit card or personal data: the survey questions are there for distraction.

When you visit these sites, you’ll find you can’t use any other features. If you’re on an Amazon replica, none of the other links will work. The site will make the survey pop-up, so you can’t interact with anything else.

Worst of all, you may never realize you went through a fake login page. You log into the fake site, and it redirects you to the real Amazon, where you may have already signed up before. 

Luckily, these scams don’t last long before the retail giant takes them down. A con man may send you to a site that others have already flagged as a phishing attack (you’ll see the warning on the browser). By that time, the scammer could have already gathered dozens of credentials from others.

#2 Mystery Shopper

Retail companies often investigate their locations for quality purposes. If you know someone’s watching you, however, you’ll act differently. That’s what makes mystery shopping a brilliant idea.

If Amazon needs that service, they’ll likely contact someone from their research groups and not a random customer like you and me. Scammers love these fake jobs to justify payment scams.

You’ll be working as a payment/shopping assistant and help to investigate seller products. You buy the marked products and probably send them to the “inspector.”

But you may not have the money to buy all that. So scammers send you an advance check for your commitment to the job. 

“Consider it as working capital. We’ll use the check funds to buy products. Whatever amount is left will be your paycheck.”

Weeks later, the fake check cancels, and everything you spent appears as debt (If you spent $1000 from a check, you owe $1000). 

The scammer no longer answers your messages. He has got several free products from you to resell.

#3 Advance Fee Fraud

We’ve all stumbled with unexpected prize scams at least once. They look legit and easy to win, but you can’t complete the process without “verification.”

You may need to register an account, including all the information you would never share online. Is it worth it for a prize you may never receive?

After completing the Amazon survey, you get the good news: you won a reward! Now, pay for processing fees and shipping.

Not only you get nothing. Fraudsters keep making up payment excuses until you desist. 

#4 Malware Installation

An email encourages you to install a file to run the “Amazon survey assistant.” After you complete, you see nothing but a message:“Your survey program now works. Return to this site to begin.”

What you don’t see is the malware files you’ve installed

  • If it’s adware, all your browsers will show a lot more ads and pop-ups, which are all fraudulent and serve for click fraud. You may find advertising after leaving your device, even if you didn’t use it.
  • If it’s spyware, take it as if someone was watching you all the time. Hackers register any key you press, any page you visit, and all the data you enter. They may as well extract it from your device and steal your identity directly, bank accounts included.
  • If ransomware, your computer screen will block until you pay to unlock it (limited-time offer). The hacker often poses as an authority, tells you not to share the problem with others, and requires a bitcoin/gift card payment.

These come as trojan malware, meaning you installed the program expecting it to be something else. In Windows, you can disguise the icon and format to make it resemble a survey application.

How To Prevent Survey Scams

Most scammers look at surveys as spying opportunities. Surveys are free to register and may not always come with a prize. Fraudsters always promise the best reward to make it worth sharing private data. 

Although survey scams happen in lower proportions, it depends on the reach-out method and your awareness. Most scammers mass email because they can’t hide the scheme completely: they hope someone won’t notice.

#1 Choose Official Sites Only

Amazon runs surveys regularly. They never ask for personal data and don’t offer prizes. If you want extra cash from filling up forms, Amazon Mechanical Turk is the place.

If you want something requiring more skill, consider joining both focus groups: Amazon Research Panel (ARP) and Amazon Research Club (ARP).

When it comes to earnings, surveys aren’t worth the time. If you find a researcher paying hundreds for a few minutes of your time, it’s a scam.

#2 Check The Message

When receiving unexpected messages, it doesn’t matter that much what the offer is. We want to know who they are and how they say it. If you’ve never got such messages from Amazon before, ask yourself whether it could be an imposter.

If it’s genuine, it will be public on the platform. Call Support and ask to check/explain the message to you. If the agents don’t recognize the message sent, then the email didn’t come from Amazon. Report/block the sender.

#3 Verify Before A Critical Decision

You don’t know who is behind the screen until you see their intentions. You may need to ask the scammer questions before you recognize the scam. 

Before you follow a single instruction, go to your account and consult with Support. Do not use the support information the email shows. The scammer may pose as Support once you call their number.

Instead of considering it a sign of distrust, look at it as a smart habit. Only Amazon should have your private information, and nobody will charge you for Amazon surveys.

Putting It Together

Surveys serve to improve the Amazon experience. You may receive small incentives to complete them, but never giant rewards that you “fear to miss out.” That’s why people fill up the forms.

Amazon surveys won’t happen outside the platform, and you don’t require any programs. Support should guide you on anything you don’t know, and if they don’t recognize a message, it probably came from an imposter.

All in all, your opinion matters, and you can get paid for it. Consider Amazon alternatives for extra cash:

  • UserTesting and Validately: Get paid for reviewing websites (voice recording)
  • Focus Groups: Make money participating in social research
  • Survey Sites: Make extra cash filling up short forms
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