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Generally, you're asked to pay a nominal fee to get a list of companies that will pay you $5-$100 to fill out surveys. Usually these promises are combined with offers to join focus groups that will pay you $50 to $100 per hour.
This is an easy scam, because there are legitimate companies that will "pay" you to answer surveys. However, in my experience the payment usually comes as an entry into a monthly drawing. None of these companies requires you to pay a fee entry into their database.
Which ones? Unfortunately, there are a number of sites that claim to steer you in the wrong direction. I have composed my own list of some of the top survey sites. However, if you'd like to make up your own mind, check out my comprehensive list of free surveys.
Never give out any information on a survey that you wouldn't give a total stranger on the street. Do not give out your bank information, credit card numbers, bank numbers, or social security number. I also recommend that you obtain an email address other than your primary one before signing up with any survey company.
Almost every one of the companies requires you to pay (even if you use paypal) through Clickbank. Clickbank, also known as Keynetics, Inc, is not a "bank" at all. In fact, it is an on-line seller of e-books, software, and other downloadable products. When I checked it out with the Better Business Bureau in August 2006, it had 123 complaints.
Still not sure they are scams? Check out these links for more information. Note, these are not links to "legitimate" companies. These are links to articles by the BBB, FTC and other organizations exposing the frauds.