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Mystery Shopping Scams: How to Avoid Them, And Legitimate MSP's

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What Does A Mystery Shopping Scam Look Like?

Mystery shopping scams constantly change and evolve.  It is hard to define exactly what a scam looks like, but what is a scam?

Dictonary.com defines a scam as: noun: "a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle." or verb: to cheat or defraud with a scam.

There are a few things that likely brought you to looking up this topic:

  1. You had a gut feeling something wasn't quite right with an offer or an ad you saw.
  2. It seemed like it was a deal that was too good to be true.


Payment Offered Without Work

This is probably one of the most common Mystery Shopping Scams.  You are sent a check and asked to deposit the money and simply mail back some of the money in return for the effort.  Sometimes a scam looks like asking you to purchase gift cards with either a check they send you before you purchase the cards for more money than they are worth as a 'fee bonus' for your efforts.  The check is then bounced or cancelled at your bank and you have purchased and mailed the cards already.  Anyone who offers money before the work is completed should be considered suspect.  We strongly suggest that you investigate where these offers are coming from.  You can find out more about this topic on an article written by the CBC after an interview with our Managing Director, Julie Anthony.


How Can I Find A Legitimate Mystery Shopping Provider (MSP)?

We, along with many other legitimate Mystery Shopping Providers, are members of the MSPA Americas which is an organization that works to ensure credible companies are taken seriously.

Where Can I Find More Information?

We discuss this topic many times as we want people to be safe and to enjoy the authentic experience of mystery shopping.  You can check out our blog about how to find a Reputable Mystery Shopping Program as well.