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.
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 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 Swagbucks.com, 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:
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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