Not worried about sharing your shopping habits with strangers? You can make a few bucks by filling out surveys and doing your online shopping through rewards sites.
There are dozens of sites to choose from, including Swagbucks, Rewards1, CreationsRewards and MyPoints. The sites typically provide “points” for participating in an array of activities, from watching videos and reading e-mailed advertisements to playing games and signing up for free trial offers.
The sites generally require that you use your real name, address and e-mail and that you promise not to spam-filter away their advertisements. If you take the surveys offered by site partners, they’ll ask for all sorts of personal information, including age, income level, whether you have children or are expecting, the kind of car you drive, and products you buy. You may see a boost in the number of advertisements you receive via e-mail.
The value of these points varies from site to site and by how you choose to redeem them. If you’re an active user, it’s not too difficult to earn anywhere from $5 to $25 a month, experts say. If you buy merchandise with the points, the value can be all over the map, so it’s wise to comparison-shop before you redeem.
A few caveats: If you use these sites, make sure you have up-to-date security software. Some rewards advertisements can lead you to sites that will load your browser with viruses and malware. Security software will wave you away. Also beware of any survey or “offer” that requires a cell phone or credit card number. Either one can be used to sign you up for paid “memberships” that will ding your phone bill or credit card. Finally, realize that you are giving away personal information that could be used later. If you’re uncomfortable answering a question, don’t. The points aren’t worth potential long-run repercussions.