Mike, I love your blog and I just read your review of Swagbucks. It sounds like a neat way to make some extra money but I’ve had my identity stolen before and I’m kinda hesitant to sign up for websites or give them too much information about me. Is Swagbucks legit or a scam? -Tim
The question above came from one of my readers and rather than just respond to Tim individually I’m going to post my response here as well. After all, if Tim had a question about Swagbucks there’s a good chance you might be wondering the same thing.
Note – If you sign up for Swagbucks today using this special link you’ll earn a $5 bonus just for signing up.
Is Swagbucks Legit?
In a word: yes.
But I can do a lot better than a one word answer. The truth is I know for a fact that Swagbucks is legit because I’ve used the site myself for several years.
In that time, I’ve earned many hundreds of dollars in cash and gift cards. I’ve never had my identity stolen or had any kind of bad experience at all with their site. I give it two thumbs up.
I know you’re afraid that you’ll put yourself at risk by handing over personal information.
So let talk about the different ways you can earn rewards at Swagbucks and the risk level of each.
Swagbucks has a search engine feature that works just like Google. Enter a search term and it spits out the results.
But unlike Google, Swagbucks sometimes rewards you just for searching. Below you can see I earned 7 swag bucks (equal to about 7 cents) just for doing a search. The highest I’ve ever received myself was 30 swag bucks.
Not every search will have a payout. Most don’t, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to which ones pay. At least none that I’ve been able to figure out.
But it’s pretty cool to get paid a few cents just for doing something you’d be doing anyway.
Risk level: None. You’re just running search like you’d do in Google or Yahoo.
This is another super easy way to Swagbucks rewards. Just watch a couple of videos and watch your balance grow.
There are hundreds of videos to watch and numerous categories including Food, Sports, Fashion, TV and Movies, News, and more. The videos are short and it’s really to just let them stream while you’re working on the garage or getting dinner ready.
Personally, I like to watch a bunch of movie trailers while I’m working out on the treadmill.
Risk level: None. All you’re doing is watching short videos.
The shopping section contains offers from many popular stores including Kohls, Old Navy, FTD, Nike, Groupon, and many more. You earn Swag Bucks (SB) every dollar you spend there.
It doesn’t make sense to spend money just to earn rewards, but if you’re buying something anyway you might as well save some money while you’re at it.
I recently bought an $85 sympathy basket from FTD when my friend’s grandmother passed away. I got 1500 Swag Bucks back, which comes out to $15. Not a bad savings!
Risk level: None.
Online surveys are the bread and butter of Swagbucks for many users. At any given time there are a few dozen surveys available and payouts range from about 25 to 500 or more SB. Generally, the longer a survey is the higher the payout.
The other day I took a short survey which was really just watching a 30 second commercial and answering a few questions on it. It took maybe 5 minutes and I earned 50 SB for my time.
You won’t get rich taking Swagbucks Surveys but it’s a simple way to make a few extra bucks while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV.
The surveys never ask for credit card info, social security numbers, or anything like that. The only risk I see is that you’re answering questions and sharing personal details about yourself.
If that makes you nervous then skip the surveys and only use the rewards methods you’re comfortable with.
Risk level: Low.
In this section there are links to a number of games where you can earn rewards based on how much money you spend within the game. For example, many of the games have a reward of 18 SB for each dollar you spend.
So if you spend $10 on upgrades within a game you will get 180 SB back again.
I should point out that I’ve never used any of these because I’m not a big gamer and I certainly wouldn’t pay to play a game. The danger with these games is the potential for overspending and then getting hit with a big bill. Plus, you’re hooking up a credit card to the game so there is always some risk there.
Risk level: Moderate.
In the sites’s own words, the Discover section of Swagbucks is a place where you can earn rewards for “exploring special offers”.
There are too many types of offers to fully describe here. Some are as easy as signing up to receive recipes in your email. Others require you to download an app to your smartphone or take a free trial offer on a paid service.
To be honest with you, some of these offers look a little spammy to me.
I don’t like downloading unknown apps to my phone and trial offers can be a pain to cancel, or you might forget to cancel and end up paying for something that you don’t really want.
And because these offers connect you with other companies that require you to give your information to them to, there is an additional risk there.
Risk level: Moderate.
So what’s the final word? Is Swagbucks legit or what?
I’m a happy Swagbucks user and I’ve earned hundreds of dollars through the site with no problems at all.
There are many different ways to earn rewards through Swagbucks and you don’t have to use any that you aren’t comfortable with. If something doesn’t pass your smell test, just click the back button and try something else.
Bonus! When you sign up using my special link, you’ll get a $5 signup bonus. That’s enough for a $5 Amazon gift card right off the bat!