3 On Your Side

Beware of apps that pay

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

"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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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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