Beware of apps that pay

Beware of apps that pay
Beware of apps that pay

"I've earned almost $4,000 in the last few years,” Nicole Luboff boasted.

That’s not bad, considering she earned it all just by clicking on surveys or shopping on one of her favorite Apps. But she didn't earn cash exactly. She earned something called Swagbucks.

"So, in order to redeem Swagbucks, you go to the Redeem page and you can get gift cards for Amazon, Groupon, Starbucks, Pay Pal,” she said.

There are a lot of apps now that pay you in points, rewards or even cash for answering surveys, watching videos, shopping, or taking photos of places or products.

Marc Yount created an app called Field Agents and says crowdsourcing market research makes sense.

"So, things like taking pictures or collecting price points or checking a competitive product can become a really valuable information for our clients."

The Federal Trade Commission says numerous apps provide great opportunities for consumers. But the FTC just reached a settlement with one app, following allegations that the app failed to deliver promised cash rewards for meeting exercise and diet goals.

"We believed they were breaking the law. The FTC investigated and came to a settlement that helped people get their money back."

The settlement came to more than $940,000. And, it's not the government’s only case.

FTC attorney Jason Schall says consumers should always educate themselves before using an app. It’s suggested you always read online reviews to gauge others’ experiences. Also, go to www.FTC.gov for information and finally read the fine print. "But that's not something I like to emphasize because really. It's the responsibility of companies not to deceive consumers by putting the important terms in the fine print,” Schall said.

Yount says he's proud of the response his app has gotten and Luboff says she'll keep swagging.

"With apps that pay, it's best to find one that works for you. If you don't like taking surveys or you don't like watching videos, there are other options out there."

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