Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mystery Shopping and Scams

Legitimate mystery shopping companies never, EVER ask for any fees to be paid to them. You will never be asked for money. Period. No money orders, checks or anything of the sort!

There are some companies out there in cyberspace and who advertise in local papers who claim that for a fee they will connect you to job opportunities and provide training. This may be true, but is totally not necessary. Mystery shopping companies provide tips, forums and job boards with no fees whatsoever associated.

Silver/Gold Certified is not required to mystery shop. It is recommended through the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers Association). I am silver certified and I did see an increase of job offers. Companies contacted me via e-mail through the MSPA site. Some of these companies only offer jobs to certified shoppers. The MSPA is a trusted source for all that is mystery shopping. There you will find a great forum to communicate with other mystery shoppers, job board, certification pros and cons, company lists, industry news, etc.

There is a scam going around related to mystery shopping. It is a variation of the money order/check theme. Supposedly you are evaluating a check cashing service or Western Union. The task requires you to buy a money order with the check they provide or cash a check, and then send back the money they sent you minus a generous $100 payment. A few days later when your bank fully processes the check, it will be exposed as a fraud and you will be out the money.

Click here for the article from ConsumerReports.org site.

Click here for the article from NBC4 site.

If you have any doubts about a company, check that they are registered with MSPA, check for complaints at the BBB and check with the Federal Trade Commission.

Make sure it is an actual company before providing with SS number. Legit Mystery shopping companies do not advertise in your local paper; don’t fall for those ads with inflated earning potentials. Shops can pay as little as $5 or only reimburse for a small purchase, you think really $500 is a legit offer? Not at all. Mystery shopping will not make you rich. Follow the ‘Safety First’ guidelines in this site and sign up only with verified companies.


You may see ads for Mystery shopping on this site, unless I specifically mention that I use a certain company you should do your homework first! Follow the ‘Safety First’ guidelines.


Safety First:
  • You can check registration data here such as name, address and phone number. http://www.whois.net/
  • Updated link to The BBBOnLine "Check out a Business or Charity
  • Check it out with the Federal Trade Commission http://www.ftc.gov/
  • Google the site name or registered domain owner and check out the buzz!
  • Leave a post about the site you are curious about and I will do all the work for you! Chances are I already have checked it out.

Related articles on WAHB:

Location and Mystery Shopping
Silver/Gold Certification Buzz
Ready to Mystery Shop?
Mystery Shopping Necessities
The Buzz on Mystery Shopping

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