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We break the silence on silent shopper scams

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Any Legitimate Mystery Shopping Company will tell you that in this industry, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

In response to an increase of fraudulent mystery-shopper activity, one reputable international company is speaking out. Shoppers Confidential has been providing mystery shopping services since 2005. They play a key role in the acceleration of clients’ customer service and revenue goals.

They’re warning consumers to do their due diligence and research companies online before signing-on, accepting money or completing work; noting that any legitimate company will be a member of the Mystery Shopping Provider Association of North America (MSPA).

Scammers will often use existing company names to lure employees, along with fraudulent cheques or money orders instructing the recipient to keep a portion and ‘wire’ the rest back to the company – something a legitimate company would never do. Consumers should be weary of any employment offers they receive by text or mail and should always direct questions to the contact number on a company’s website, never to the number listed in the letter or message.

Shoppers Confidential lists three key principles legitimate companies practice.

1.     100% won’t pay before the work has been done

2.     100% won’t ask you to send them money

3.     99% will Pay using PayPal or e-transfer (not by cheque)

If an offer seems too good to be true, or involves very little work for a promised large pay out, be wary.  There have been many reports of people being asked to purchase gift cards and then forwarding the numbers on the gift cards to the company, prior to any reimbursement and without any insight information (or very little) being asked about the process or the cards. The scammers then use the numbers provided to them to clean out the card and essentially steal your money.

 

If you have been approached with a suspicious offer check out the company.  Do they have a BBB listing?  Do they have a social media presence?  Are they registered with the MSPA?  If you believe a scam offer is being sent out in the name of a legitimate MSP, call the companies office (from their phone number on their website) and ask about  the opportunity before you start it.

To learn more about identifying mystery shopping scams watch this video.

 

Associated links

·      CBC News article

·      Shoppers Confidential