Written by: Diane Sweeney – Staff Writer for Market Viewpoint, LLC
If you receive our blog posts or newsletters you know that mystery shopping is a real gig! When you work for a legitimate mystery shopping company – you can make real money!
There is a lot of press about the traditional scams in mystery shopping where you are mailed a check, told to deposit it and then make a money transfer at Western Union or purchase gift cards and then share the card number and PIN with the ‘business’. The bogus check bounces, you end up out of cash, and the scammer is using the gift cards to make purchases.
Scammers are so rotten, they even pretend they are legitimate mystery shopping companies!
But now – the con men have gone to another level.
At present, it’s only been done in the UK, and it appears to target high schoolers looking for summer work, but we know how these cheaters work – and want to alert you before you, or someone you love or know, gets scammed.
Assignment: Steal High End Items
A woman clicked on a job website and reviewed a list of jobs. One said mystery shopper. She applied for the job and received a call from a company representative who detailed the assignment and then forwarded her legitimate forms and instructions.
The mystery shopper would visit stores assigned to her and she would take items from the store. She was to also note the typical items – cleanliness of the store, staff attire and demeanor, security guards, etc.
If she got out of the store without being caught, she was to put the items in plastic bags and ship them to the mystery shopping company.
If she was caught, she was not to reveal that she was working for the company until arrested and at the police station. Then the police would call the company and verify that she was working for them.
Needless to say, this made the news because the woman was arrested. The scam was revealed when no one could get in touch with the mystery shopping company and the store that she stole from confirmed they do not use mystery shopper services.
No legitimate mystery shopping company will ask you steal from their stores. Ever.
There are integrity shops where you may be asked to observe actions of staff members. But you would not ever be put in a position to steal or do anything illegal that could get you arrested or in trouble with the law. Ever.
With over 8 million real mystery shops conducted in the US alone each year, there is plenty of legitimate work.
Check MSPA-NA’s list of member companies for legitimate mystery shopping companies. Register with the companies and know which you want to work for. Do not open or reply to an email from a company with which you are unfamiliar until you check them out.
Share this with your friends, and especially the younger, job-hungry, vulnerable folks in your social circle. You could be saving someone from a police record and pointing them in the direction of a fun, profitable way to make money.
Let us know if you’ve been scammed. Post your comments below.