Mystery Shopper Scam

Mystery Shopper Scam: How It Works

(with video below)

Mystery shopping companies and fake offers. This month, one of the biggest scams around is the Mystery Shopper or the Secret Shopper Scam. Let’s take a look.

The Mystery Shopper job could be an amazing activity, if you consider its great concept. Who wouldn’t like to go have dinner or a few drinks for free, and then even get paid to do that? Nobody. Well, let’s say you want to do that while looking for ways to make extra money in addition to your daily job. One day, you come across a great opportunity online as a mystery shopper. All you have to do is to visit a business location, use its services, write a report – and get paid! How does the scam work?

Watch the video below to see in detail the Mystery Shopper scam exposed:

The offers for becoming mystery shoppers come via email and lately through unsolicited text messages. Signing up, your first paid task is to verify the quality of service at a financial institution in your city, for example, Western Union. You have to write a report on how fast they are, how is their customer service, etc.

Once you agree, the ’employer’ (the scammer) sends you a check for – let’s say, $1,150. Considering your job will be worth $200 altogether for the time you spent, they will ask you to deposit the full $1,200 check-in your account and wire back $1,000, so you can keep your fee for the job, $150. Seems easy enough, right?!

Their only stipulation is that you need to perform the Western Union job as soon as you get the check, say within 48 hours.

legitimate mystery shopper companies


You do as you’re told, send off the money and write a report for your employer detailing your mystery shopping experience.

Unfortunately, a few days later you receive your bank statement and realize your balance is $1,000 less than it should be! Little did you know that the $1,150 check your employer sent you… just bounced. They told you to hurry (meaning send back $1,000), knowing that in 5 business days their check will bounce and you’ll realize they were running a scam.

Needless to say, you’re responsible for the money you wired and if you’re in overdraft you’re facing a fee.

Alternatively, scammers might come up with different email verbiage. They might use similar phrases such as: “We are seeking to identify a pool of skilled evaluators who can do: Reviews and surveys for collection-of-data. Conducting project evaluation; Collecting and analyzing primary data”.

mystery shopper jobs


Mystery Shopper Scam: How To Avoid

There are plenty of legitimate ways to make money in your spare time. Do a bit of research and don’t just click on the first ad you see. Always do your research and work only for legitimate employers.

In the meantime, if you are really looking for a job and seek to make some money until you find the next ideal job, you can choose, which is the world’s largest free online rewards program. You get paid by doing things online which you might do anyway, such as searching the web, take surveys, watch videos, or play games. You can also get free iTunes and Amazon cards. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. You can register for free HERE. They offer a $5 sign-up bonus.


How To Report a Scammer

Make your family and friends aware of the Mystery Shopper Scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here


How To Protect Yourself More

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

27 thoughts on “Mystery Shopper Scam”

  1. I got an text message for a secret shopper job I went and checked the real company they’re different from the one that I have would like you to look into the one that I was linked into how do I find out how to do that

    Hi Would like you to participate by evaluating grocery stores in your neighborhood. You’ll be paid $500 on every survey completed go to to know more information and apply. Thanks
    This is what I received there’s more to it but I could only copy this thanks for your help let me know please

  2. So here is another example of a mystery shopper scam email – i just received it this morning, beware:

    You will be assigned to visit a shop, GAP, etc.
    You will then complete the on-line questionnaire to share with us
    your customer experience.

    You will get extra paid $500 / each assignment.
    Tips and training materials will be provided for free to our shoppers.

    18 year old or above. No fees, experience or interview are required.

    Please_reply this-email with the correct information below to Sign up;

    1. NAME (first/last) :———————
    2. ADDRESS :——————————
    4. PHONE’S (cell&home) :—————-
    6. E-MAIL :—————————-

    Thank you for registering in our services! We will contact you
    immediately as your application has been received.

    Team Recruitment©
    MSPA Application 2020 @ All Right Reserved.

  3. I got a check from llj Management LLC for $2,450 they said that they want me to be a secret shopper and they want me to purchase $2,000 worth of gift cards and the other $450 would be mine then they want me to take pictures of the back of the card after I scratch off the number and send them to them seems like a fraud to me. it came FedEx right to my front door! Beware!

  4. I’ve received this email and wondering if anyone received the same offer that seems sketchy.

    The purpose of secret shopping is to assess the standards of service provided to customers. We call mystery shops ‘assignments’ and they may involve you making a telephone call or visiting a location to evaluate the service provided. Some mystery shopping assignments also need you to make a purchase and / or a return. If we need you to do this,we will pay you in advance and give you the details needed to conduct the assignment, including any reimbursements.This job requires that you have a passion for shopping as well as good analytical and observatory skills

    You will be visiting Banks and stores like Wal-mart ,Shell gas stations; Costco; IKEA stores, Seven Eleven stores and many more.

    These companies are our client interested in improving and delivering best customer care experience to customers, if bank is your initial assignment, tell us about your cash deposit experience. The survey job can be done anytime during the week(flexible).

    Payment terms: Your pay check will be sent to you in advance via check or direct wire which ever is convenient.Your weekly salary would be between $600-$1200 weekly depending on the numbers of assignment completed.

    Please Complete the following to proceed.

    First Name :
    Last Name :
    Mailing Address :
    City :
    Postal/Zip Code :
    Mobile Number :
    Best time to reach you:
    Previous Secret Shopping Experience: Yes/NO


    Gordon Lamond
    Managing Director International Technical Services
    1 Angel Court

  5. Here is what email the scammers use now:


    We have a customer service survey assignment in your location for you.We will pay $250 per assignment which would come in the form of a cashiers check along with comprehensive details in regards your assignment.The job Entails an Evaluation process such as visiting Wal-mart, Rite-aid,Walgreen e.t.c. Send information below to get started If you are Interested

    Full Address (No PO BOX):
    State :
    Zip Code :
    Phone_Cell :
    Gender_Age :

    Thank you for participation.

    Frank Lawnson
    HR Manager
    Customer Service Evaluation Team

  6. I just received a fake email from Kroger this morning, for a bogus Kroger Secret Customer. Here is what it says:

    We invite you to be part of our shoppers team.
    You can shop any products you want at your designated store. Register and if you are selected, you will receive $50 for shopping at Kroger stores and $200-400 payment per assignment. Shoppers are selected randomly every week and they will be contacted via phone or email.

    No experience, fees or interview are required just send us your sincere feedback after your shopping experience.Your review will make a difference for providing better services and products. Click ‘Join Us’ and then complete all of the required fields in order to register.

  7. Here is what i just got in regards to another "mystery shopper opportunity" lol
    Their logo is a diamond with title MSPA Elite on it. Beware!

    Description-Jobs ~

    1. You will be assigned to visit a shop.
    2. You need to "pretend" to be a normal potential customer
    Ready to search for certain services.
    3. You will then finish an on-line questionnaire to share
    with us your customer experience.


    16 year old or above, Can speak local language well
    No experience needed like shopping

    Jobs-pay ~
    Most of the time you will only need to spend 20 minutes on the visit.
    Our company will pay you $295 / each work.

    Email me the below details :

    1. Name (first/last) :———————
    2. Address :——————————
    3. Country, State, City, Zip :———–
    4. Phone’s (cell&home) :—————-
    5. Age and currently job :————-
    6. Email :—————————-

    Thank you for your participation and being here with us.


  8. Watch out for this scammer, David Stinson, who applies the same method! Here is the email he sent:

    David-Stinson: Team Recruitment.
    National Shopping Service Network, MSPA.

    Hey, Candidate!

    * We are starting a very big research project in the USA.
    * We have a customer service survey assignment in your location.
    * we will pay $500 usd/assignment Which would come in the form
    of a cashier check for you to perform your assignment.
    * The job Entails an Evaluation process such as visiting The Gap,
    [Wal-mart/K-mart] and e.t.c

    Provide the following details if you interested.
    1. Full Name:
    2. Full Address:
    3. City, State, ZIP, Country:
    4. Age & Gender :
    5. Phone #:

    Thank you for participation.


    David-Stinson: Team Recruitment.
    National Shopping Service Network, MSPA

  9. I got this today, from a V Manuel, from "MS-A Selection". Scam, beware!

    Description-Jobs ~

    1. You will be assigned to visit a shop.
    2. You need to pretend to be a normal potential "customer" who is looking
    for a particular service or product.

    18 year old or above.
    Can read and write english.
    No experience needed like shopping.

    You will get US($)350 / each assignment.

    Fill-out your I.N.F.0 below for registers ;

    1. Name (first/last) :
    2. Address :
    3. Country, State, City, Zip :
    4. Phone’s (cell&home) :
    5. Age and currently job :

    Thanks for your participation and being here with us.


    The MS applications team
    (C) 2017 SR & I. All rights reserved.

  10. Beware of a Secret Shopper Text Msg offer from "" with a (604) phone’ It’s a SCAM, neither the web address or contact phone are valid.

  11. secretshopper myth

    Guys! Stop believing in this secret shopper bull—. If everybody would make thousands of dollars anybody would learn how to be a mystery shopper right away and quit their jobs.

  12. Is there such thing as a mystery shopper providers association? Or what are the best mystery shopping companies out there? Thanks.

  13. Got one scam email today, from a Diane Sterba, claiming to be from Mystery Shoppers America. He suggest I connect with another dude by the name of Kelvin Ferzetti!

  14. I got this today, from Beware of this scammer!!!!!

    Hello [my name],

    We have a mystery shopping assignment in your area and we would like you to participate. Mystery Shopper is accepting applications for qualified individuals to become mystery shoppers. It’s fun and rewarding, and you choose when and where you want to shop.

    You are never obligated to accept an assignment. There is no charge to become a shopper and you do not need previous experience. Mystery Shopper NEVER charge fees to become a shopper, mystery shoppers are paid a prearranged fee for a particular shop, We have available for immediate assignment an inspection of the customer service of any Western Union in your area. This fee will be paid upfront. During this shop you will visit the location and make several observations as regards the customer service.

    You will be required to interact with the shop clerk. You may conduct the shop alone or as a couple. The assignment will pay $170.00/ assignment. Kindly Fill Out the application form below and we will get back to you shortly with the assignment. You can also send the below required information as plain text email.

    PERSONAL INFORMATION: First Name.. Middle Name.. Last Name.. Street Address(Not PO Box) .. City, State, Zip Code .. Cell Phone Number .. Home Phone Number .. Age.. Current Occupation.. Alternate Email Address .. AVAILABILITY: Days/Hours Available Monday . Tuesday . Wednesday . Thursday . Friday . Saturday . Sunday . Hours Available:

    We await your urgent response. Thank you for your help. We look forward to working with you.

    Timothy White
    Mystery Shoppers, Inc.
    PO Box 50578 Knoxville, TN 37950

  15. Emmanuel
    Watch out for this scam company: World Survey Group!!

    They intend message people on Facebook. Thanks for accepting our offer as a secret shopper, your information’s has been verified with the Canadian Revenue Service and you have been selected as one of our Teller Spy/Customer Service Spy in your region.

    The Job Description is explained below: FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Secret Customer’s Guide wants you to run a survey on two prominent companies in your area as listed below. CIBC Bank, TD Bank, Scotia Bank, BMO Bank, Royal Bank , PC Financial, Wal-Mart, JC Penney Shops. There have been reports about lapses in the services of their Management and some of their staffs, this is based on reports which their customers forwarded anonymously and Phone calls which were also made to the head offices.

    Some locations were reported for evaluation for the following reasons:
    (1) Customers have reported their money missing
    (2) Slow in Services
    (3) Unbalanced transfer charges
    (4) Poor services
    (5) Rudeness to customers
    (6) Excess charge
    (7) Late opening time and Closing before time.
    (8) Delay of check cashing

    Your Secret Evaluation would be:

    1) A Cheque which would cover your payment of $400 and also for the duty has been mailed to your mailing address. Upon receipt of the cheque, you should cash it at your bank, and deduct your $400.00.
    2) Upon receiving the funds, you will find any CIBC Bank, TD Bank, Scotia Bank, BMO Bank, Royal Bank , Wal-Mart, JC Penney Shops location around you and send the rest money to another Secret Customer while the Name, address and banking information of the Secret Customer would be sent to you. You would have to keep a comprehensive report on every activity you carry out.
    3) You would have to record the time at which you go to the bank locations and how many minutes it takes you to get service.
    4) You would also provide me with the name of the cashier that attended to you. Your FIRST ASSIGNMENT will begin immediately as soon as you receive your first payment. Please acknowledge receipt of this email and inform us immediately you receive the payment for your first assignment.

    Thank you for working with us and making the world a better place.

    Kind Regards,
    Mr.Barrett Dallas
    Project Manager
    Ref: 63782901-23
    world survey group.
    Tel: (647)7674601.

    They actually sent me a checks $3968.60 and they as me to cash the check, take $3000.00 and then contact them back for further instructions.

  16. This scam showed up as a Text Msg to my cell # and ignored fact that my # is on the Do-Not-Call Registry. Claims that I can make an extra $300 per week.

    Ignore any such messages from Diamond Service and/or 1-647-338-4628.

    I’ve reported their name & # to Do-Not-Call & Rogers who have their phone service.

    We have been doing legitimate secret shopper for years, restaurants, banks, car dealers, we got an email to mystery shop for green card visas seem like what had done in the past except they sent me 3 checks to buy green cards, my bank approved them so I did the shop and sent them their money 10 days later the checks bounced total 5,400.00, it has ruined our lives we lost our ranch and our business is now going under, we have negative balances in our accounts and now creditors are repoing our cars, I filed with police and post master, my wife is disabled I’m partialy disabled my son has been trying to keep the business afloat to little to late, he trys to help us but now hes loosing his stuff, I figure in about a month we will be homeless, what the hell is anyone doing,send me and my son too where these assholes are.
    On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Mary wrote:
    Yup, a scam just got this email below today from a Maria Sarah! Beware!

    Descriptions Job :-
    a. You will be assigned to visit a shop.
    b. You need to "pretend" to be a normal potential customer who is looking for a particular service or product.
    c. You will then finish an on-line questionnaire to share with us your customer experience.

    a. 18 Years old or above.
    b. Can speak local language well.
    c. Can read and write English.
    d. No experience needed Like Shopping.

    Job pay:-

    a. You will get $200 for each assignment.
    b. Most of the time you will only need to spend 20 minutes on the visit.

    Email me the below details :-
    ______FullName :-
    ____FuIIA.d.d.r.e.s.s :-
    ___StateCityZip :-
    __Zip Codes :-
    __Phones :-
    ___Genders :-
    ___A,g,e :-
    _____CurrentJob :-

    Thanks for response and being here with us.

    Best Regards,
    Maria Sarah.
    MS-Application Centre

  17. This scam showed up as a Text Msg to my cell # and ignored fact that my # is on the Do-Not-Call Registry. Claims that I can make an extra $300 per week.

    Ignore any such messages from Diamond Service and/or 1-647-338-4628.

    I’ve reported their name & # to Do-Not-Call & Rogers who have their phone service.

  18. just had this happen to me now I lost 3,000 dollars and it was sent by consumer lawyer so I thought it was a class action law suit that I won then I began to read the emails boy how stupid I feel! someone tell me why! Don’t trust anything From Nexsen Pruet Pllc !!!

  19. I got scammed out of 1495 dollars now im paying for it dont trust BEST MARKET SURVEYS IN CANADA thet "job" address 1 Lexington ave in NY.

  20. I just got one ‘offer’ to be an Amazon mystery shopper lol. Below is the email I received from HR (

    Welcome to Amazon Secret Shopper Project

    You must be wondering what "Amazon Secret Shopper" is… !!!
    As profiled on Good Morning America, mystery shopping and merchandising provides a flexible way for individuals to earn extra money. Mystery Shopping Survey is an online survey Agent that will pay you when you shop in stores, malls, supermarkets etc.

    Amazon Secret Shopper LLC are desperately looking for people just like you to be our eyes and ears in well-known stores,Once you are registered as a member of this online survey, you will
    conduct surveys on stores, malls, supermarkets,Hotels,Restaurants. All we need
    is your survey results 2-3 every week for your shopping.You do not have to
    worry, because once you’re registered as a member of Amazon Secret Shopper LLC you will
    $500-$1000 per/month (wages)Which would be sent to you Via a check or
    wire transfer.

    You do not have to spend a dime to Apply.

    Please fill out the details below which was originally requested for in Ad to help us reconfirm the details picked from your resume and also complete the missing part that was not found in the resume .

    *Full Name :-
    *Full Home Address :-
    *Age :-
    *Occupation :-
    *City :-
    *State :-
    *Zip Code :-
    *Home and Cell number :-
    These details which are been requested from you are for assessment and registration to Amazon Secret Shopper LLC. And they would never be shared or published to any other third-party.

    Once accepted, you’ll receive a message from our team with more
    detailed information about the job.

    Thank You,
    Martin Culverhouse
    Recruiting Manager
    Amazon Secret Shopper LLC

  21. I received what appeared to be a letter from "Secret Shoppers" requesting me to do survey at Wal-mart. Included in that package was a check from a company which is legit (Econometrica, Inc.); however when I got to the part about depositing the check and then wiring to some unknow individual, I knew it was a scam. I’m just wondering if Econometrica, Inc., knows about them using their business as a cover.

  22. Just got the following e-mail this morning, on my work account. Beware!

    Please a mystery shopper needed in your region, you can earn up to $150-200 per week. To learn more, contact Gary Wisley via email at ( with your full name to proceed.

    Thank you,
    Anna Klingne
    Task Coordinator

  23. Yes there are legitimate Mystery Shopping Companies and NO they don’t pay $1000.00 per job OR prior to the job, this is a complete give away. They generally pay about $10. – $20. per job and they do not pay until AFTER you do shop and send in report, say 2 weeks to 6 weeks. There are things you must do prior to working for a Mystery Shopping Company to prove you can do the jobs you need to do. They don’t just send out emails or call people to say "Hey do you want to make a TON of money!!" Does not happen that way.

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