With mystery shoppers working largely out of sight of the providers who hire them, there is quite a bit of flexibility for mystery shoppers to fudge their work. While the vast majority of mystery shoppers do their best work and complete their assignments to the best of their abilities with their full effort, there are a handful of mystery shoppers who fudge reports and don’t carry out the assignment fully as per the requirements. Whether this is just pure laziness on the part of the mystery shopper, the mystery shopper is jaded by low pay of assignments, or any number of other reasons, the bottom line is that a mystery shopper who submits a report to a provider that is knowingly incorrect or false is committing mystery shopping fraud!
What Is Happening Here? There is much written and talked about with regards to scam artists trying to cheat mystery shoppers out of their time and money with fraudulent assignments, but the world of fraud is a two-way street. If you take on a mystery shopping assignment for cash and submit false information that leads the provider to believe you have completed the assignment requirements fully, you are committing fraud. Some of the many acts that constitute fraud in the mystery shopping world including forging receipts to look like a required purchase was made, copying and pasting information from one report into another without ensuring it is accurate for the assignment requested, and typing unique yet still false information into the report.
Providers Are Checking Up On You. Most mystery shoppers are aware that providers claim to use security cameras in stores and restaurants to verify that you completed the assignment requirements as requested. Are these empty threats? The fact is that most providers do not check up on each and every assignment by using security camera footage. This is simply too time consuming for a provider to do on every assignment. However, if there is something fishy about your report, there is a good chance that your report may be flagged to be verified against security camera footage. So the bottom line is that providers largely are not checking up on you with security camera footage but they absolutely have the ability to do so if a question arises.
If You Are Caught. In recent months, some mystery shopping providers have really been cracking down on fraudulent activities committed by mystery shoppers. If you are caught committing fraudulent work on your mystery shopping assignments, you can expect to receive zero compensation for your efforts (or forged efforts as the case may be). Likely, you will also be barred indefinitely from working again with that provider. As with any fraudulent activity, there is a possibility that the matter could become a legal issue. The mystery shopping provider has every legal right to take any matter of fraud to the authorities.
If you have been forging your work or if you have even been thinking about the possibility of forging your work, think again. The penalties for this type of behavior are simply not worth it. It is far better to take the time to complete the work as requested and submit an accurate and truthful report. As with other aspects of life, honesty will carry you farther in the world of mystery shopping.