Mystery shopping is a touchy subject. It seems that a lot of people are interested in the idea of getting paid to shop, but are quick to dismiss the entire concept as a scam. While there are a number of scams that do tarnish the reputation of mystery shopping, you need to know that there are legitimate companies that will pay you to shop.

I spoke with I’ve Tried That reader Mary Jane last week about certain scams revolving mystery shopping. She told me she has been evaluating companies and getting paid to shop for nearly ten years. I asked her to write a quick post regarding some companies she used and she jumped at the opportunity.

Mary Jane writes…

Here’s the Mystery Shopper Info I mentioned to you in a previous email. Although I was not able to find the original listing for which I paid $15 – here are the companies I deal with most often. I never did find the time to register with all 100 companies – just seemed like too much at the time. I was working full time and always thought being a Mystery Shopper would be so much fun. Is the work legit? Yes – but also time consuming. Some of the companies only require you to fill out a registration form others require you to take a test.

When you first register you will be at the bottom of the their shopper list. It’s up to the Mystery Shopper to check out as many shopping opportunities as possible so they can bring their score up. Some jobs will require the shopper to have a certain evaluator level before accepting certain shops.

Once you register you will receive emails from the companies telling you about shops. This is the only way you know about the jobs that are available. So make sure you check your email everyday – the shops go quickly as you are competing with other shoppers from your area.

Once you complete a shop then you have to fill out their evaluation form to receive credit for the shop. The most important thing: YOU HAVE TO COMPLETE THE SHOP EXACTLY AS STATED OR YOU WILL NOT GET PAID!!!

Most shops are time and date specific – there is no getting around this. And it helps if you have a fax machine or are able to email the evaluations in along with any other info they require i.e., company brochures, business cards, receipts, etc.

Mystery Shopper Addresses are:

www.bareinternational.com (click on new evaluator registration – upper left corner) In additional to regular shops (i.e., restaurants, stores, oil changes, etc., Bare offers U.S. Post Office Shops. You must take their exam before they will permit you to accept this type of job. If you pass the exam you’ll see the “USPS” Qualification in your Apollo Shop Log within 72 hours. If you do not receive your Qualification within 72 hours, you didn’t pass the exam so please study the guidelines and take it again.
You will typically earn between $8.00 to $10.00 per evaluation plus allotted reimbursement amounts depending on your scenario type. Each scenario requires that you mail a package. Scenarios are very specific and will be provided to you when you are assigned to a location.

www.sassieshop.com (click on contact us; shoppers; at new shoppers you will find a listing of 11 shopping companies. You will be required to fill out a registration form for each company).

This should get give your regular readers a good start on the Mystery Shopping game. As I mentioned earlier you’ll never get rich but you can make a few bucks and get food or services for free.

Thanks Mary Jane!

Mystery Shopping Scam Information

We can all agree that mystery shopping isn’t lavish or extravagant. At best, you can expect a few free purchases, a free meal, and a little bit of compensation. However, there are scammers out there who are using mystery shopping as a guise for payment processing and package reshipping scams.

If a mystery shopping company wants you to handle payments or receive and reship packages, it is 100% a scam. If the words Western Union or MoneyGram are used in the mystery shopping ad, it’s guaranteed to be a scam. The easiest way to not get scammed is to flat out refuse any assignment that makes you question its authenticity. If you’re asking yourself, why are they paying this much or why do I have to receive money then send it back, you can be sure you’re in danger.

As always, you can click here and send me an email if you are questioning a job offer and want a second opinion. I’m always here to help!

I recommend taking a look through the companies Mary Jane has used if you’re interested in getting started with mystery shopping. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!

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Last Updated: February 2, 2011

Join the Discussion

  • caustinmiller
    caustinmiller
    Reply

    Mystery shopping is a great way to earn some money buy just giving an accurate report of the service provided by an establishment. So don’t be led astray by these scams that threaten the reputation of LEGITIMATE mystery shopping. The best way to find real mystery shopping companies would be to go to the certified mystery shopping website which lists all the companies that are recognized as legitimate.

  • Tina
    Tina
    Reply

    I gave this a try with a few good companies but honestly it is really a lot of work for not much money. My time is valuuable, not only does it take time to do the mystery shop. But then to come home and fill out a very detailed report. Good luck to you all who enjoy this, but I’m going to pass and find something else.

  • Shannon
    Shannon
    Reply

    Alexander, that was the cool thing about the mystery places I worked for and I’m sure the other ones probably do as well. They spell everything out for you about what you will get paid and the ones I worked for gave me the distance to the shop. You can decide for yourself if it’s worth it based on gas prices. Hope this helps!

  • Alexander | Legit Make Money Online
    Alexander | Legit Make Money Online
    Reply

    Thanks so much for these links. I’m glad to know about some mystery shopping websites and services that are actually legitimate. I can’t wait to try these out, but I’m almost wondering if it’s worth it with gas prices so high. :( We’ll see. Thanks again for sharing. :)

  • Don
    Don
    Reply

    Those emails that involve check cashing are those that also come to ‘undisclosed recipient’, though they can be addressed to you, but then are usually addressed to multiple addresses as well. So multiple addresses is also a tip off to a scam.

    I have accepted a couple of scams like that, up to the point of getting the checks delivered by Fed Ex, then torn them up, and thrown them away when they arrive.

  • MARY EBRON
    MARY EBRON
    Reply

    I shop for KSS shop and always get paid
    also Stratgic Reflections always pays has good shops too
    just started with Sassie shop but friend done them for years good results

    ANYONE ASKING YOU TO CASH CHECK IT IS ILLEGAL, FAKE,SCAM NOT ANY GOOD AND YOU WILL LOSE ALMOST TWICE AMOUNT OF CHECK PLUS VISIT FROM FBI FOR PASSING BAD CHECKS!!!!!!

  • Don
    Don
    Reply

    Remember though, mystery shopping offers that are sent to your inbox, are most likely scams. I have had many. open the email and look for the to field and see if it says ‘undisclosed recipient’, if so it will be a scam email, and definitely not legit.

    Everything that comes as an offer for whatever, that is marked that way, is a scam.

  • Don
    Don
    Reply

    I have done mystery shopping, though it was more of a job done through a mystery shopping outfit. I got paid too, but not very well. Just did it to get some experience in the field of ‘auditing’. I audited two Best Buy stores.

  • Tracy
    Tracy
    Reply

    I’ve done mystery shops for AboutFaceCorp. I got paid as well.

  • Shannon
    Shannon
    Reply

    I’ve done some mystery shopping for Retail Eyes http://www.retaileyes.com/become_a_mystery_shopper/ and Market Force http://www.marketforce.com/the-shopper-force/. Haven’t been doing them lately because we were a one car household, but I’ve been paid by both of these companies for mystery shopping gigs I did. Hope this helps too.

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