Whether you are new to mystery shopping or have been mystery shopping for years, you no doubt are fully aware of the risks associated with this job. Many mystery shoppers have been targeted in recent months and years by scam artists who want to steal their valuable time and money. This is only one form of fraud that can affect mystery shoppers, however. Even a mystery shopper’s own providers may at times request a shopper to perform fraudulent activities. So how can you avoid these activities in your own work efforts?
Look For Scams
First and foremost, you should be aware of the many scams that are targeting mystery shoppers today. One of the best ways to know what to look for is to visit mystery shopping forums regularly. Many mystery shoppers will immediately post comments on the forums when they are targeted by a scam, and this can help you to determine what to look out for. Scam artists often pose as legitimate providers, which can make it difficult to determine which work offers are legitimate and which are not. Through your own awareness of scams, you can take great steps to prevent your own loss of time and money due to a scam.
Protect Your Identity
Any consumer runs the risk of being a victim of identity theft, and this includes mystery shoppers and non-mystery shoppers alike. The more often you act as a consumer in retail stores, restaurants and more, however, the more likely you are to become a victim. This is because even store staff have stolen identities, credit card information and more from the store’s own employees. One way you can prevent this from happening to you is to use cash at all times. Some machines have been developed that can steal information from your credit cards even when they are close to your wallet. This means you don’t even have to take your cards out of your wallet to have your identity stolen. It may be best to just keep your credit cards at home entirely.
Set Your Standards
Mystery shopping providers have been known to ask mystery shoppers to perform fraudulent activities from time to time. One common type of fraudulent activity requested is for a mystery shopper to alter a mystery shopping report in a way that would make the report false in some way. Many mystery shoppers who work in the business long enough will run into this issue. It is important for every mystery shopper to set his or her standards before this occurs. This can prevent a mystery shopper from feeling torn about how to react. Keep in mind that not all providers will make such a request, and ceasing a relationship with one provider will not affect your ability to work with other providers.
It is unfortunate but true that quite a few mystery shoppers will face the issues described here as well as other similar issues over the course of their career. However, with proper steps, you can prevent yourself from getting caught up in a scam.