There are many legitimate mystery shopping companies in existence, but unfortunately, this industry is also the subject of scams. Here are some examples you need to be on the lookout for:
If a company wants you to pay money in order to work as a mystery shopper, then this is a red flag. A legitimate company will allow people who are interested in working as mystery shoppers to sign up at no charge. It’s always a good idea to check out a company that you haven’t deal with before thoroughly before you provide them with any personal information.
Mystery shoppers get paid for their work, and you will want to ask about how and when you will be paid after you sign a contract to work for them. If the company pays by check, then you will need to provide your mailing address. Paypal is a secure way to get paid; all the company needs to know is your e-mail address to send you money electronically. Exercise caution if the company you are interested in is asking for your banking information. The company may use direct deposit as a payment option, but it’s always a good idea to check out the company with the Better Business Bureau.
Another scam associated with mystery shopping is when a company offers to provide people with a list of companies that hire mystery shoppers or a CD with information about this type of work by mail. If the offer is a legitimate one, then this information should be available online on an instant download basis. It is a much more cost-effective way to do business. A legitimate company will also let you see a sample chapter to give you an idea of whether the information they are selling is something you are interested in buying.
Beware if you receive an offer to work as a mystery shopper that comes to your e-mail In box or mailbox on an unsolicited basis. These are likely scams. If you want to work as a mystery shopper, find some companies you would like to work for and apply to them directly.
When you are looking for work as a mystery shopper, study the websites or the ads carefully. You should be looking for something that looks like a real job ad, not one that promises that you will be making big money for very little effort.