One of the biggest concerns of mystery shoppers is falling victim to a scam. There are a number of unique and creative scams out there waiting for you to stumble on them in your search for more jobs and money. On occasion, a scam may even find you and contact you directly.
Scams are becoming more creative in an attempt to disguise themselves and take more of your hard-earned money. So it’s becoming harder and harder for a mystery shopper to tell a legitimate provider from a false provider. If you are concerned you may have run across a scam, there are a number of things you can do.
Ask Around. Word of mouth is strong, and this is especially true in the mystery shopping community. Even if you don’t know any other mystery shoppers, the internet has made great strides in connecting people from across the country and even across the globe. You have access to thousands of mystery shoppers, including their valuable experience and feedback, with the click of a mouse. There are several online communities and forums where you can post a question about a potential job or provider. Or you can search through topics already posted to find the information you are looking for. Either way, the online mystery shopping communities are a great way to find out if other mystery shoppers have had a legitimate mystery shopping experience with the company in question, as well as to get other mystery shoppers’ opinions on if you should do the assignment or run the other way.
Check With the MSPA. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association, or MSPA, is a great resource for mystery shoppers. You can search online for legitimate mystery shopping providers, as well as research the latest scams that are targeting mystery shoppers. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the MSPA prefers that you not contact them by phone with regards to specific providers. So if you can’t find the information you’re looking for about the provider or job in question on the MSPA website, you likely should refer back to the mystery shoppers forums.
With A Shadow Of A Doubt. If you have exhausted all avenues and cannot find any information about the provider or job in question, it’s best to trust your instincts and walk away. In the event that provider is legitimate, you don’t want to burn your bridges. So be sure to end communications with the provider in a professional manner. It’s always better to be safe and cautious than to risk the possibility of losing money or having your identity stolen.
When There’s No Doubt. If you are positive (or even fairly certain) that you’ve been approached by or fallen victim to a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission, the US Postal Service (if mail has been involved), and your local authorities. Then hop online and notify your fellow mystery shoppers about the scam via the online forums so word can get out in the mystery shopping community about the scam artists on the prowl.
Mystery shopping is a fun and exciting job. As with every part of life, however, it pays to be cautious and discerning with the providers you work with and the assignments you accept.
Is JOB SLINGER legitimate and trusty?
In response to if it is a scam, I just finished with this guy called graham, who posted an ad for customer service from home. The first response was anice and easy reponse from a person talking about themselves and how nice they were. So I responded with what I am about, honest and all that. The next thing I know I am getting e-mail after e-mail talking about this $1500 money order he is sending me and I am to keep so much of it and foward the rest to him. I was so disappointed. I want a real job. I have done honest mystery shopping, the only thing is that gas had gone up and the offers I was getting were so low. So I ignored this man untll today, where he is telling me in threatening terms I should beware. I finally wrote him back, because since the first nice letter it was obvious he was not from here or they were a first grader, that they can do what they like, I reieved and cashed nothing, which I will not do- now I would call the officials if anything came to me and if it had I would have just sent it back. People mistake nice and honest for stupid. We must always remember that we need to not be greedy, be honest, I am a Christian and want to die one, and I want to die in good faith with the Lord. I think most of us do. So keep away from the scam artist, do not give out your info and I believe they will always be around, but not if we do not work with them. Stay healthy and happy and hopefully wealthy.
Two words of advise: 1) NEVER send money to any mystery shopping company – legitimate companies would not ask you to do that. 2) If it seems to good to be true, it probably is… let it go.
I have received several offers (that looked real). I have responded back to the company asking for their website and their local phone number.
This usually puts an end to communication.
Occasionally, a second intro letter will arrive with an 800# and a website address. I go to the website address and find that it has absolutely nothing to do with mystery shopping.
Without a local number, it’s near impossible to find out more about the company.
Obvious scams regularly show up in my mail box asking for my name and address, phone number and other details. I have not applied to these sites. I just spam them. The advice from Jean is worth taking…walk away…let it go. Listen to your gut.
Forums like this one are an excellent resource for mystery shoppers! We want to be smart, educated, and share information!
I am thankful that this has not happened to me.
Thank-You for the advice.
I recieved a check in the mail from extreme shoppers. the check was a fraud when i had my bank look at it. they tried to get me to deposit a fake check, if i did that i would be liable for the money. i found out the number i was calling was in Canada! the check looked very real til the professional told me it’s flaws. don’t deposit a check that shows up out of nowhere!
I did recieve a check asking me to deposit it and send three hundred dollars. I just got done reading about scam, I took it to the police station and told them. They said thanks but there wasn’t much they could do about it.