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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.

"˜Secret shopper' scams continue to dupe victims

You find yourself holding the bag, embarrassed that you were conned so easily. The "secret shopper" or "mystery shopper" scam is making the rounds again, having proven a highly reliable way for scammers to persuade people to send them money.

Published:  Fri, 25 May 2018 09:49:00 GMT



Mystery Chinese buyers behind Dural's $10.85 million "˜holiday home'

A mystery Chinese buyer has caused waves in Sydney's Hills ... Dural's grand estates on the outskirts of Sydney have lured high-end shoppers from China in recent years, with the previous suburb high of $8.8 million set only last year by Yingxia Liu ...

Published:  Sat, 26 May 2018 07:26:00 GMT



MH17: The story behind the hunt for Russian mystery man involved in shooting down the plane

And then another break - because of an online shopping purchase. "We discovered his phone number ... July 2014 was a senior Russian military officer who had lived a life of mystery and continued to do so.

Published:  Fri, 25 May 2018 22:45:00 GMT



America's queen: Oprah steals show at royal wedding as she arrives with a mystery man and dances in her seat wearing Stella McCartney dress made with just 24 hours notice

Simply click below to start shopping... It was unclear if the man came with Oprah ... revealed King, She also siad that she had no idea who the mystery man with Oprah was and had never seen him before in her life. Once inside the church, Oprah spent ...

Published:  Sat, 19 May 2018 14:33:00 GMT



Shopping south of the border Here's what you can bring back with you

The mystery of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has captivated the world for more than four years, but for two retired Ottawa air accident investigators, it all comes down to six seconds. And the evidence from those final moments before the Boeing 777 ...

Published:  Sun, 27 May 2018 08:31:00 GMT



Elderly man whose card was declined at Aldi till in pension mix-up left stunned by mystery stranger's kind-hearted act

The cashier agreed to keep the 71-year-old's shopping while he returned to his home in Rochdale ... Manchester Evening News reports. The mystery stranger did not leave any contact details and asked the cashier to wish Alan a nice day.

Published:  Sat, 26 May 2018 11:20:00 GMT



Blount County Sheriff's Office warns of 'mystery shopper' scam

The Blount County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a "mystery shopper" scam targeting area residents. The scam consists of residents receiving an overnight package with a letter claiming the addressee has been selected as a Walmart mystery shopper ...

Published:  Sat, 19 May 2018 04:38:00 GMT



Pa. health system aims to take the mystery out of health care prices - and offers a discount for paying cash

When Ken Leffler's gastroenterologist said he needed an MRI and a procedure that would send a scope down his throat to examine his esophagus, his first thought was the cost. "I said, well, there goes another $5,000," said Leffler, 63, of Lehighton ...

Published:  Wed, 23 May 2018 02:00:00 GMT



Naples man recounts scam to participate as mystery shopper

Naples resident Dan Honick received a priority mail envelope Sunday that appeared to be legitimate. Honick said the $1,955 check inside the envelope looked real later realized something wasn't right. "First of all I got a check for almost $2000 and I ...

Published:  Wed, 16 May 2018 14:50:00 GMT



Ancient ceremony gives Chester Mystery Plays go ahead to perform this summer

The Lord Mayor of Chester has officially granted permission to the company of the Chester Mystery Plays to perform at Chester ... in front of crowds of shoppers, visitors and tourists to the city. Shepherds and singers from the 200-strong company processed ...

Published:  Sat, 19 May 2018 10:49:00 GMT



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