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How to Spot Mystery Shopping Scams

Have you ever heard of a professional shopper? Perhaps you would like to be one. Simply put, a secret shopper gets paid to work when they want, however often they want and where they want. For many, getting paid to shop for a living is nothing short of a dream come true. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), however, not all mystery shopping opportunities provide the dream job that they promise. The truth is that there are legitimate companies that hire secret shoppers to evaluate their business while posing as a customer, but it's important to realize how to spot the real deal versus a real ripoff.

In most instances, a mystery shopper will be assigned a specific task within a business and will then provide the company with a written evaluation of their experience. Generally, the secret shopper will be reimbursed for their purchase, which means the product is theirs to keep at no charge. In addition, secret shoppers are paid for their time. The actual rate of pay will depend on the job, the time spent and the company's policy.

Due to the popularity of the mystery shopping industry, scams are a growing problem. Because mystery shopping does not require any type of special certification, it is recommended that consumers remain cautious of any company that charges a fee in exchange for information relating to a certification program. A few of the most common places for these scams to appear include newspaper advertisements and in unsolicited e-mail. The FTC warns that, "The shopping certification offered in advertising or unsolicited e-mail is almost always worthless."

As is the case with any industry, it's nearly impossible to guarantee someone a job. The same is true with mystery shopping and consumers should be mindful of any business that promotes a guarantee of a job or a specific income amount. Every mystery shopping job is unique, along with its rate of pay, which is why it is especially beneficial for anyone interested in becoming a secret shopper to be familiar with realistic and legitimate advertising practices.

There is an old saying that says, "If something sounds to good to be true, it probably is." Today, that saying rings true in almost every aspect of life, including business. If a mystery shopping opportunity sounds to good and promises to much, it would be wise to research the company before becoming a member. You can conduct your own, independent investigation by checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for any potential complaints lodged against the company and/or to determine whether or not their record is satisfactory.

With the internet being a wealth of information relating to almost any topic, mystery shopping opportunities are easy to find. Legitimate companies looking to hire a secret shopper can easily be found with a few clicks of the mouse and, best of all, most accept applications via the internet. One of the best ways to learn about valuable mystery shopping opportunities is, much like the industry itself, through a third-party independent evaluation. If you have the opportunity to read one or more reviews about a particular mystery shopping company, this may provide you with the information needed to begin your career in professional and profitable shopping.

Mystery shopper pays for Cumberland County woman's groceries after her wallet was stolen

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office is reminding residents to stay vigilant while shopping this holiday season. It comes after an elderly woman's wallet was stolen at the neighborhood Food Lion in Sunny Acres on Dec. 3. Barbara Tomey was in the check ...

Published:  Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:27:00 GMT



Car Dealerships Fail EV-Selling Test, Mystery-Shopping Study Indicates

The numbers seem to speak for themselves: Despite all the talk about electric vehicles, Americans largely seem uninterested in buying them. But a new mystery-shopper study suggests soft EV sales are at least in part the result of dealerships steering ...

Published:  Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT



4 Smart Tips for Creating a 'Secret Shopping' Program That'll Change Your Customer Service

And some of these insights can be key to building customer loyalty and unlocking sales. I first learned about secret shopping, also known as mystery shopping, several years ago when my wife was hired by a major department store to help them improved their ...

Published:  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:55:00 GMT



40% of holiday shoppers to give "˜experiences' as gifts

Next were spa certificates, travel, interactive experiences (like murder-mystery dinners), gym memberships ... said in a statement. Also, 7 percent of shoppers plan to buy a subscription box or service. In this category, food subscriptions ranked highest ...

Published:  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:59:00 GMT



Understanding 'The Mystery of the Magi' -- A New Book from the Pen of Daniel Kolenda

Dec. 15, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- Christ for all Nations CfaN, has published a new book to add to your Christmas reading and shopping this year. In The Mystery of the Magi, Evangelist Daniel Kolenda takes a closer look at some little-understood ...

Published:  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:57:00 GMT



6 Years Later, Andover Murders Still A Mystery

His son John was in the office, located in the basement of his parents' home, until about 4:30 p.m. Geri had talked to her daughter Holly about watching her grandchildren the so Holly could do some Christmas shopping. Holly was bringing her children over ...

Published:  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:08:00 GMT



Holiday scam seeks unwitting mystery shoppers

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) You see the ads everywhere ... Mystery shoppers ... Paid to shop ... Quick cash. "It appeals to every consumer instinct we have -- getting something for nothing," said Jason Duquette-Hoffman with the Vermont Consumer Assistance Program.

Published:  Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:25:00 GMT



Spreading Christmas cheer, mystery shopper picks up bill at Hilton Head store

Holiday kindness was in full effect on Hilton Head Island Saturday, as a mystery man at a Dollar Tree checkout stand decided to pay for the woman behind him in line, kicking off a pay-it-forward chain. Bluffton resident Kaley Van Eenenaam was shopping for ...

Published:  Sun, 10 Dec 2017 10:51:00 GMT



Mystery box in Roseville offers clues, but no answers

A mystery box found at a homeless camp is providing many clues as to the box's owner, but no answers. Roseville police officers found the box Thursday, after cleaning up a campsite not far from Roseville's Westfield Galleria shopping mall. Officers ...

Published:  Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:55:00 GMT



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