Many mystery shoppers receive a dozen emails each day, if not far more, from various mystery shopping providers who have assignments they need completed. These emails are largely a great benefit to mystery shoppers, as they help to keep you from having to check through job boards on all of the different providers you have signed up to work with and they let you know when new jobs have been added to the job boards, too!
Yet sometimes these emails that come into mystery shoppers’ email accounts are not all they appear to be. Some of these emails from time to time may actually be a scammer trying to steal your time and money. Here are some ways you can spot a scam and prevent from falling victim to a scam:
Only Work With Companies You Know. First, you should be very wary of companies who contact you for your services that you have never heard of before. If you have been mystery shopping for more than a few weeks, you have come to easily identify the standard email messages that your providers send out, and any messages that deviate from these standard messages should make you pause and give thought as to the legitimacy of the work offer included in the message.
Watch Out For Imitators. Now some scammers have actually made an effort to really try to trick mystery shoppers by taking on the company name of real providers. They do not work with your providers, but they claim to. Now you can typically tell these scam offers apart from legitimate offers by the work. If the work offer or the pay seems just too good to be true, it may be a scam artist posing as one of your providers. You will want to contact the provider directly to verify the assignment details. Do not follow phone numbers or website links included in the suspicious email, but instead contact the provider on email or phone routes that you have previously contacted them through.
Keep Current. It can be hard to stay up to date with the latest news affecting the mystery shopping world, as the job itself is meant to be undercover to a large extent. However, when you make an effort to keep tabs on industry news through visiting the industry’s online forums, you can often learn about scams well before they target you from other mystery shoppers and sometimes even from providers who become aware of impostors targeting their mystery shoppers. For this reason, it is a good idea to visit the mystery shopping forums, such at least once a week, if not more often than that and always pay attention to details about possible scams targeting the industry. MysteryShopForum.com is the busiest forum for mystery shoppers.
As you can see, there are several different approaches that scam artists can take to reach you. While it is rare to be approached by a scam artist, you will find that when you are extra vigilant and follow these tips, you can help to keep yourself free from the risks these scam artists can pose on your work schedule and your finances, too.