Mystery shopping cannot always provide you with continuous work and a steady income. However, the main task of mystery shopping is to improve the quality of service by earning money. Therefore, you must be careful when choosing a company to work for to ensure you do not to lose your time, strength or money.
Mystery shopping offers many opportunities. You can earn extra money while also getting participating in an interesting and useful activity. Furthermore, it also gives you the opportunity to get a free lunch or items in stores as well as receive financial remuneration.
However, it often happens that scammers use mystery shopping as a tool for deceiving people and involving mystery shoppers in their fraudulent schemes.

Therefore, if you decide to participate in mystery shopping, make sure to check out some of its rules and note the differences between the legal and fraudulent activities of mystery shopping. There are many signs that you need to pay attention to when doing this. There are many methods that fraudulent mystery shopping companies use to find and attract potential shoppers.

The Cheque Cashing scam:
This is the most dangerous type of mystery shopping fraud because people can lose large sums of money. This is a form of online fraud that can only be avoided if you are careful in all aspects concerning check-cashing.
This scheme is mainly used on beginner mystery shoppers and works like this: The mystery shopper is given the task to evaluate a money transfer service or another financial service. The mystery shopper then receives a cheque for cash. Their assignment is then to send a part of the money back to the company (however, with legitimate mystery shopping companies, this would remain with the shopper as a payment for their work). The cheque is fictitious and will be canceled after the mystery shopper sends the money. As a result, the shopper remains is left out of pocket.

To avoid falling victim to such a scam, do not participating in cheque-cashing and do not transfer money to anyone. It is important not to participate in these tasks even if you have worked with the company before or it seems legitimate.

The sign-up scam:
To become a mystery shopper you don’t need to pay any sort of sign-up fee – it is completely free. Therefore, if you are asked to pay for registration or to receive tasks, be suspicious as it is possible you are dealing with scammers. The scammers will try to convince you that working with them deserves a payment in order for them to see that you serious about working with them. It is the company offering mystery shopping services which pays the mystery shopper for their work, not the other way around. There is also generally no need for certificates – these are only required for special tasks. Any lists or directories associated with mystery shopping are also freely available on the Internet and do not charge a fee to be accessed.

How to avoid mystery shopping scams? Don’t pay to become a mystery shopper. After all, you do not earn the same amount as a mystery shopper as you would working full time.

Tips to help you identify fraudulent companies:
You should always remember that mystery shopping will not bring you thousands of dollars in income, so if someone promises you lots of money for a mystery shopper job, it is highly likely that it is a scam.

Often scammers reach out to their “victims” through spam emails or newspaper adverts. Do not engage with companies you suspect of being fraudulent as you cannot know exactly who is behind these adverts.

Never pay to become a mystery shopper or during any mystery shopping tasks.