For many mystery shoppers, writing up the report at the end of a site visit is a real hassle. Yet it is one of the most important aspects of the job because it tells the providers and their clients about your observations during the site visit. This is the information they are paying you for, and so the accuracy of the report is absolutely critical.
Now, it is easy for a mystery shopper to feel inclined to skim over some of the details of a site visit. Sometimes we are just so busy and feel burdened to get through the report and on to other pending obligations. Sometimes we just may not think some details are worth sharing in a report. And still other times, we may have missed making an observation during the site visit that is now being requested on the report questionnaire. As easy as it may be to fudge answers from time to time, you should know that submitting knowingly false information on your report is a form of fraud.
Are You Doing It On Purpose? You should absolutely know that providers are reading your reports word for word. You only have to get one report sent back to you for confusion about grammar, syntax, and so on to know how closely these reports are read. More than that, though, is the fact that many times the reports, or at least the details in them, are being sent to the on-site managers and employers. You can bet that if you type in bogus or false information in the report, those on-site workers will make a complaint, and this complaint will eventually fall onto you for an explanation about the discrepancy. Further, some reports are verified via on-site video cameras and surveillance equipment, too. You can bet that you will eventually get caught if you are knowingly submitting false information on your reports.
Is a Provider Asking You to Commit Fraud? Fraud is fraud, whether you do it on your own or someone else asks you to do it. It is not unheard of for a provider to ask a mystery shopper to change a report so it is written in a more positive light for store staff. If a provider asks you to make a change, you need to pause and consider if that change would be material in nature, and if it would in anyway falsify what you know was observed or occurred during your site visit. You will have a big decision to make, and that involves the choice between knowingly falsifying your report or possibly falling into the bad graces with a provider. Keep in mind that there are many providers you can work with, and if you are ethically minded, you may choose not to continue working with a provider who asks you to falsify reports.
You may find that you have been committing fraud on your mystery shopping reports without realizing it. It is best not to get mixed up in the legal complexities that fraud could bring to your life, so take steps to always write your reports with truth in mind.