Is Mystery Shopping Legit? How to Spot a Scam and Find Legitimate Opportunities

Searching online for the name of the outfit along with words such as “review”, “complaint” or “scam” is a great way to start when it comes to determining if mystery shopping is legit. You can also check the work with the online list of reported scams maintained by MSPA Americas. It's also important to contact the issuing bank that appears on any check you receive for secret purchasing services, before depositing, to make sure it's authentic. If you detect or lose money due to a Mystery Shopping scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud, ftc, gov and your state attorney general.

There are different forms of mystery shopper scams. A popular version of the scam is when scammers pose as retailers looking to lure people into becoming secret shoppers. They ask victims to pay for their products or training and then leave with their money. Fraudsters also steal personally identifiable information (PII) of the victim of the application they filled out and commit identity theft.

If you are interested in legitimate mystery shopping programs, you can check out the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. If you think you have been a victim of this scam, please report it to the FTC and BBB ScamTracker. While you may be able to make enough money for gasoline or some groceries as a part-time mystery shopper, companies that run those high-paying secret shopper job advertisements or who contact you via email or text message are probably making promises that they can't comply. The letter invites you to become a paid mystery shopper in your area, and the letterhead and check appear to come from a legitimate U.Legitimate mystery shopper providers usually don't send you money before you start secret buyer assignments.

To ensure that your secret shopping experience doesn't end up on the liquidation shelf of poor life decisions, the BBB recommends taking these steps: search online for the name of the outfit along with words such as “review”, “complaint” or “scam”; contact the issuing bank that appears on any check you receive for secret purchasing services; and report any suspicious activity to the FTC and BBB ScamTracker. Although there are many scams that involve alleged mystery shopping opportunities, there are some legitimate opportunities. According to the letter in the mail, to become a mystery shopper, all consumers have to do is complete a paid training task in a short period of time. Mystery shoppers help businesses, retailers and restaurants gain insight into the quality of their stores in exchange for money. If you still think a side hustle as a secret shopper might be for you, here's a summary of mystery shopper scams and how to avoid them: search online for reviews; contact issuing banks; report suspicious activity; and check out legitimate suppliers listed in the Mystery Shopping Vendor Association (MSPA).In another scam, scammers offer secret buyer assignments, but tell you you must pay a “registration fee” to access them. Instead, Secret Shopper Scam operators convince consumers that they will pay them to buy by sending them a check that later turns out to be a fake. Getting paid to buy sounds like a dream job, especially if you're looking for an additional job or if you're going to school full time.

In the past, scammers have found ways to turn the service into a mystery shopper scam, also known as a secret shopper scam. Although some companies hire “secret shoppers” services to analyze their customer service by having “secret shoppers buy certain goods or services in their stores and report their experiences,” scammers operating the “secret shopper scam” do not offer such a service. In addition to shopping at a major retailer, consumers are asked to use most of the money they receive to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of Western Union or MoneyGram.