Mystery Shopping is a great way to earn an income. However, like most businesses out there today we are not exempt from people trying to take advantage of innocent people trying to figure out how to become a mystery shopper. Please be careful about any contact you get from a company wanting you to do mystery shopping for them, because it is probably a scam. Mystery Shoppers does not contact you to do mystery shops unless you have signed up with our company first. Mystery Shoppers does not pay shoppers up front for the shops that they are doing. If anyone offers to send you a check in the mail to do shops for them before the shops have been completed, it is a scam. If it seems too good to be true, then chances are it is. If you ever question a shop that someone has contacted you to do, please call a legitimate mystery shopping company and verify that it is a real shop.
You should never pay to shop for any mystery shopping companies. If someone asks you to pay a monthly fee and wants your bank account or credit card number, DO NOT give it to them. You can verify any company at www.mysteryshop.org to see if they are a legitimate mystery shopping company. If the company is not listed on that site, then they are not a real company. ALSO, beware because some scams will use a mystery shopping companies name on a fake check, email or letter when trying to get you to sign up with them. Please be cautious about this and call the company in question to see if it is indeed from that company.
IF you get involved in a scam, please follow the procedures below. Do you think you may have received a scam or have received something that makes you suspicious? For example, a fake check or a email asking you to sign up and pay a monthly fee, etc. Some ways to identify a scam:
* You received an unexpected cashier's check or an offer of a large payment from a company that may or may not be posing as a mystery shopping company.
* You are asked to send some of the money from the check to someone else, usually via Western Union.
* The offer seems too good to be true.
What to do:
After you realize it is a scam, you can destroy the check, email or other contact information, or you can try to protect other potential victims and help catch the ones that are out there trying to take money from innocent people. Things to do if you if you have been scammed:
* Notify the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
* Notify the FBI.
* If there is a Canadian postmark or other indications it came from Canada contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center - PhoneBusters.
* Notify the Better Business Bureau. The BBB can send out an alert in your area and spread the word in their system.
* Notify the mystery shopping company who's name they have used with the scam so they will know what is going on.
* Contacting the bank the check was written on so they are aware of the forged checks, or contact your bank if you have given someone your bank account or credit card information to take out a monthly fee to have the stopped. If you just call the company and ask them to stop taking the money out, they will not do it.
* Contacting your local (non-emergency) number for the police to make sure they know the scam is taking place, as well as file a report with your state's Attorney General.
* File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.