If you are looking to be a mystery shopper, please beware of some of the scams.
Here’s how to protect yourself.
Time needed: 3 minutes.
How to avoid Mystery Shopping scams
- Don’t pay up-front
You should never be asked to pay up front either to become a mystery shopper or before an assignment. This should be a red flag.
In rare cases you may have to buy an expensive product as part of the assignment, but this is rare. Only do this – or send money – in the most extreme cases and only if you already have an established record with that company. But the default answer is – don’t!
- Use reputable companies
What’s a reputable mystery shopping company?
There are quite a few lists out there. Check out the company on the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. The association vets members and has strict ethical standards.
Here’s an independent article about how mystery shopping works, this may also help.
- Start small
If you are in doubt about a company, start with small jobs with little or no cash outlay and see if you get paid on time.
- Don’t cheaply supply banking details
There should be an option for you to register ‘without’ providing your banking details. In other words, have a feel around the site, see what jobs are available, maybe even do a job, and THEN provide your details.
- Call the mystery shopping company
Don’t be afraid to call a mystery shopping company. We love taking calls from new shoppers. It shows you’re keen and serious. It also allows you to get a feel for them.
Ask then what types of jobs they have, where they have them, and when they pay for the jobs.
- Check their ABN
Check that they have an Australian Business Number (obviously each country will have its own business registration). You can easily check here.
- Avoid money transfer assignments
Assignments purporting to evaluate money transfers are very rare. Avoid them unless you are an experienced shopper with an established relationship with the mystery shopping company.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
We hope this helps.