Like most ways of earning money on the Internet, with surveys there is no shortage of scammers looking to earn a quick buck at the expense of others.
Pinecone is one of the most popular survey panels – By a mile
Pinecone Research is one of the most popular, and most exclusive survey websites, and if you can get hold of an elusive invitation link, it pays out some of the best rates. Plus it is linked to one of the largest research companies in the world (Nielsen) so you know you’re in safe hands.
The survey panel enjoys a dedicated fan base of happy users, and many who strongly claim Pinecone is among the best, if not the best. So you should not let this deter you, instead you should take this as a valuable piece of knowledge that will ensure you stay safe when using Pinecone, and other survey sites.
Sadly as one of the most trusted survey sites it has been subject to scammers using the Pinecone name & logo’s to catch out unsuspecting users.
Pinecone is not a limited case however
Although this post specifically talks to Pinecone users and those looking to register to Pinecone, the general advice given in this article applies to all other survey websites too, especially if you are a regular survey-user.
What’s the issue?
One of the most notable scams was a mystery-shopping assignment which involved the victim being given a fake check and then being asked to cash it to “test” how the Western Union Wire transfer works, the victim cashes it to find the check has bounced, instead the money then comes from their own bank account.
The scam was even picked up by the Federal Trade Commission in the US, warning consumers about the scam. Pinecone was quick to distance themselves from the fraudulent activity, claiming no association with them on their security notice web page.
Other past scams include:
- Recruiting respondents for “hiring” employees
- Recruiting for “Business evaluation surveys”
What’s the advice from Pinecone?
- No legitimate survey panel will ever ask you to pay any money to them
- All Pinecone communication will be through the email: email@example.com
- Pinecone advises users not to respond to any email address other than the above
- Report any of these scams to your local law enforcement agencies and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US, or the Canadian anti-fraud center.
Further advice to stay safe when using survey panels
Don’t let scammers ruin your ability to earn easy extra cash online, try these easy tips and tools to ensure you are safe when earning from paid surveys:
- Be wary when anyone “guarantees” you a certain income – There is no guarantee how much you will earn from paid surveys, as you control when and how many surveys you take part in. Avoid any websites or web page that try to guarantee you a certain level of income. There is little skill to surveys, anyone can do them and they don’t take up too much time, so companies are not going to pay huge amounts for each. That said however there are plenty of tips you can use to make more from surveys.
- Seek out reviews from other users before registering – There are plenty of people that will tell you about their positive, and more importantly, negative experiences when using survey websites. You can read about some of the top legitimate survey panels here on this site.
- Find out who owns the website & how long it has been running – Sites like who is will tell you who owns a website domain, when and where it was registered. If the site was set up last month, then chances are it’s an attempt at turning a quick buck at the expense of others. A search of www.pineconeresearch.com, for example shows that they are registered Nielsen Company which is one of the world’s largest market research organizations. So you know you the website is safe.
- Consider downloading a browser tool to keep you safe – There are a number of trusted browser plugins such as the WebOfTrust (WOT) that hold extensive information of websites their trustworthiness. Often such plugins will advise you whether a link is safe or not right at the source, before you even get there. I.E. on Facebook, e-mail or Google search. The WOT plugin particularly comes in handy when you think you’re on a trusted website, when in-fact you’re on a phishing/scam site presenting to be someone else, giving you much more peace of mind.
If you want to register, we offer legitimate Pinecone Research invitations.