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Mystery Shopping Scam: Tips on How to Identify Secret Shopper Job Scams

mystery shopping scams

A job that only requires shopping or dining sounds like your dream job. Part-time work, you can still do a lot of things, besides work, they also pay well. This is how many people imagine the work of a mystery shopper. But just one wrong decision and your dream job will turn into a nightmare. Fraudsters every day come up with new deception schemes to make as much money as possible from innocent people. During the coronavirus, scammers began to work even harder as many people lost their jobs. People are applying for unemployment and looking for new ways to work daily. While scammers send attractive ideas for making money to poor people through letters that later turn out to be a mystery shopping fraud.

So, What Is the Job of a Mystery Shopper?

secret shopper scam

Many companies want to test their business on how the services are provided to the client. In this case, companies are hiring a mystery shopper who can evaluate the work of the service and make a complete analysis. They share their experience with the company that hired them while receiving a salary. But keep in mind that mystery shopping is a job that does not involve full-time employment. A mystery shopper job is a temporary job, and it won’t provide you for long. In addition, the mystery shopper initially pays for everything that they buy in a particular store. And only after the purchase, they receive compensation from the seller.

Mystery Shopper What Is It and How Do Secret Shopper Email Scams Work

mystery shopper inc scam

Here are some tips on how to identify secret shopper job scams:

  • Never pay for work in advance. Companies that employ mystery shoppers do not require tuition fees, certification, or job security. The company pays for everything necessary. But many people who did not have enough information about such a scam lost their money, falling victim to mystery shopping scams. As soon as they transferred their money to the scammers, the scammers stopped communicating and the money was lost.
  • Some scammers ask you to pay for a mystery shopping list – another way to steal money from innocent people. Honest companies send their mystery shoppers all the information they need for free. If you are asked to pay for something before starting work, then most likely it is mystery shopping jobs scams.
  • Never transfer money to an employer from a check that was sent to you. Some scammers send the victim a check for a specific amount and then ask them to send some money back. They come up with many reasons for the average person to send their money to scammers. For example, pay taxes for work, fees, or simply send a change from an amount that exceeds the payment for the work. In this case, the unsuspecting person sends money from the check to their “employer”. A few days later, it turns out that the check was a fake. Now the person who just wanted to make some money had even more debt. They must pay the bank the entire amount that they took due to the usual lack of information about the secret shopper scams check.
  • Another way to deceive the victim is very similar to the method described in the third paragraph. But in this case, the scammer asks you to send money through money transfer companies such as MoneyGram or Western Union. If, in the case of sending money through a bank, the transfer can still be somehow stopped, then in the case of sending money through such companies, the money is already completely lost.
  • You should not apply for a mystery shopper job if the vacancy promises you a lot of profit. Such vacancies are written exclusively by scammers, looking for victims for their mystery shopper scams. In a letter like this, you can see many promises that talk about big profits and full employment. The scammers are trying very hard to interest you by promising a big salary that will help you quit your job, which you do not earn much from.
  • If you’ve received an MSPA job posting, don’t reply to it. Most likely, it is fake secret shopper scams. MSPA is an association of Mystery Shopping marketing research companies. This company does not advertise or hire mystery shoppers. But at the same time, they have a list of companies that provide various kinds of services. In this case, here you can register to find possible mystery shopper vacancies and not fall victim to the mystery shopper inc scam.
  • If you received an interesting mystery shopper vacancy, and you are interested in if a mystery shopper is legit, then here is the answer. To do this, it is enough to find in any search engine some information about the company that sent you the letter. It is best to search for the name of the company while adding some words, for example: “fraud”, “complaint”, “verification” and others similar. Once you start your search, you will find all the information you need about the company to find out if it is a mystery shopping scam or not. There will be a lot of reviews in front of you, and if they are bad, then it is better not to reply to the letter sent to you at all.
  • If you are looking for an honest Mystery Shopper job, the best way is to register for the Mystery Shopper program in the MSPA’s list of companies that provide various services. This way, you will most likely protect yourself from mystery shopper online scams.

Where to Report Secret Shopper Scams

mystery shopper email scam

If you received an email inviting you to become a mystery shopper, but you notice that it is fraudulent, or you have already become a victim of a mystery shopper email scam, the best way is to report it. How to report secret shopper scams? Contact the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and report this to your state’s attorney general. Increasingly, scammers find their victims who are just looking for additional income.

People do not have enough funds for their future life, which is why they agree to such offers. Losing large sums of money, they curse the scammers, but they can no longer get back the money that they vitally need. Some companies do hire mystery shoppers to analyze customer service. But people who go to such work know in advance that all purchases will be made at their expense, and only then they will receive payment for their work. Scammers offer upfront payment by sending their victims a check for a specified amount.

How would a person who urgently requires money not agree to this? True, he does not understand that the check is a fake, and he will lose his last money. Until the banks determine that the check was fake, the fraudster will have time to convince the victim to send a certain amount of money back to him. As soon as the fraudster gets everything they require, they disappeared, and their victim is left not only without work but also without their honestly earned money.

Even more unpleasant is the fact that during the job of “mystery shopping”, the person spent money from his bank account while shopping in the store. Only after making purchases, a person realizes that the check is a fake, and they spent almost all of the last money, becoming a victim of a secret shopper scam. Be careful and don’t fall prey to this scam!

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