Mystery Shopper Job Offers Are Scams

Right after Christmas I received an email offering me a chance to make $700 a week only working part-time as an “Agent shopper.”

It is all very simple, wrote Donny Martin of SS-Network Team.

“Hello Candidate, We are accepting applications from qualified individuals from all-over the world to become an Agent shopper. There is no charge to become an Agent shopper and you do not need previous experience. The assignment will pay you $350/ assignment of 2 assignment a week. This is a part  time job and you would have flexible hours.”

“We will provide you the money for all of your assignment,” Martin wrote. “Money order/payment check would be in a certain amount which you would be required to cash at your Bank then deduct your salary and have the rest used for evaluation.”

To get started I would have to provide all kinds of personal information to Martin.

“The sooner you apply the bigger possibility you will get a shop to visit,” Martin wrote.

If only it were real. It is another version of the mystery shopper scam where consumers are conned into either paying up-front fees for jobs that don’t exist or they receive bogus bank checks, which they are required to immediately deposit and forward a large portion of it to one of the scammers.

Of course by the time the bank figured out that the check was no good, it is too late for the consumer, who is out all the money he wired to the scammers.

SS-Network Team has been investigated by which found that the scammers typically send victims checks for thousands of dollars.

After depositing the check they are instructed to go to a Walmart store and purchase a $20 item.

Once they have your trust, then the real scam kicks in.

“Your next assignment is to either send the money to another secret shopper or secret shop Western Union. You are to send the remainder of your balance to the person listed in your instruction email. Once the money is sent, you are to take note of how the service was and send them back an email letting them know your survey results as well as the transaction number,” according to an email published.

The scam works because banks will frequently honor checks for their customers, but it may take a week or more before the bank discovers that the check is bogus.

There really are mystery shoppers who are given money to check out stores and restaurants and make small purchases and then report back their findings. They are permitted to keep the items and of course have a free meal. Normally they do not receive any salary.

But according to the Federal Trade Commission, mystery shopping jobs don’t come to you, you have to go find those opportunities.

“You can visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website at to search a database of mystery shopper assignments and learn how to apply for them. The MSPA offers certification programs for a fee, but you don’t need “certification” to look – or apply – for assignments in its database,” says the FTC.

“In the meantime, don’t do business with mystery shopping promoters who:

Advertise for mystery shoppers in a newspaper’s ‘help wanted’ section or by email.

Require that you pay for “certification.”

Guarantee a job as a mystery shopper.

Charge a fee for access to mystery shopping opportunities.

Sell directories of companies that hire mystery shoppers.

Ask you to deposit a check and wire some or all of the money to someone” warns the FTC.

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3 Comments on "Mystery Shopper Job Offers Are Scams"

  1. How many checks that you get actually say “official check” or “BANK CHECK” … or basically “NO REALLY, this is not a scam!”
    Too many people still believe in free money (government programs aside!)
    SUGGESTION: list all these scams that still attract and dupe gullible people. This “mystery shopper” thing has been going on for years just like the Canadian Lottery, free travel tickets, free security system (just sign your life away for monitoring), free casino money sent is a UPS envelope from Europe… Please list and explain them all so these people will stop making money off the ignorant.

  2. This particular one may be a scam, but I know that Target hires people to scan prices on items so they can compete with their rivals. You are given a hand held scanner to use. Not sure about all the details, but I knew someone who did that. I guess being hired locally and in person is a little more reliable than doing so via e-mail?

  3. There are also renter’s scams that originate from Africa. The scammer lists a house for rent posing as Christian missionaries who are willing to rent “their” house while they are away. They post actual pics from the reality company! Then you’re asked to wire them the deposit after which you’d be told where to get the key is located. They had an official looking lease and everything!! I reported them to the police who did all they could. Luckily a neighbor made me wise to the fact the property was ONLY for sale not rent. The ad was posted on craigslist who IMMIDATELY removed the ad AND prohibited the screen name from posting anymore ads. Caviat em ptor-buyer(renter)BEWARE!!!ALWAYS investigate whom you are dealing with the best you can. Only YOU can protect yourself from these financial predators!!! Thank you very much for reporting these scams!!! BRAVO!!!!

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