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They used to be cash-only, but in 2013 they switched over to a points system. Panelists can share their opinions in surveys and complete other various offers in exchange for points. 100 points is equal to $1, and most of their surveys pay up to $3. Survey topics are diverse and cover a variety of different topics. Pinecone Research is unique in that they emphasize consumption related surveys more than other panels.
It’s a very well-known scam. You cash the check, then they ask you to either wire some of that money back to them as some sort of fee or buy something for them and send the item to them. So, you deposit the check, then wire some cash to them thinking that the check you just deposited will cover that. A few days later, after you already send them the money, the check will bounce and the money you send to them will come out of your own account.