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Mystery Shopping Can Be a Great Way to Make Some Extra Dough…but Watch for the Scams

Mystery shopping is real. Thankfully, it has been around long enough that most people know it to be a legitimate way to make money, but scams that use mystery shopping “opportunities” as vehicles to separate you from your money are, sadly, out there, as well.

I will assume you’re familiar with mystery shopping, even while you may not have any direct experience with it as yet. If not, it can be quickly summarized as work wherein you act as an undercover shopper for the benefit of a given retail establishment, so that the customer experience can be evaluated and improved upon by that same business. However, one of the “knocks” against mystery shopping is that it’s something that can lend itself to seeing scammers try to co-opt the opportunity in a way that puts money in their pockets…without leaving you any benefit, and perhaps saddling you with a significant financial loss, to boot.

For example, one of the more popular mystery shopping scams involves being solicited to mystery shop on behalf of places like Western Union, where you will be sent a cashier’s check and told to cash it for the purpose of using Western Union or another “like” service to wire the money back to the entity supposedly in charge of conducting the mystery shop for the money wire service; your benefit comes in the form of keeping a portion of the funds for yourself. In cases like this, what typically happens is that after you’ve sent the wire, the cashier’s check bounces, and so not only do you not receive your cut, but you’re also fully responsible for the amount you transmitted – ugh!

As a matter of fact, here is a news item recently posted at FOX 6 in Green Bay, Wisconsin about an actual mystery shopping scam that is very similar to the example we just discussed:


If you’re interested in mystery shopping, and would like to avail yourself of a wide variety of genuine opportunities to do it, then you might take a look at Paid Shopping Providers, a members-only service that can point you in the direction of nearly 200 hiring companies looking for mystery shoppers. Paid Shopping Providers, which is actually recommended by Jim Paris, can save you a lot of time and energy in ferreting out productive, confidential, mystery shopping assignments. To learn more, Click Here.

 By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large