Mystery Shopping Scams

Mystery Shopping Scams

While getting paid to shop does sound like a dream job, the fact of the matter is things might not always appear as they seem. Mystery shopping ads glamorize the idea of shopping for merchandise while making $10 to $20 an hour, the only thing you have to do is fill out a small report about your shopping experience.

We want to say right off the bat that not all mystery shopping programs are a scam.  Some people do get paid to mystery shop, but they are usually professionals and it’s done at marginal pay. The mystery shopping programs that require you to pay a $20-50 registration fee and promise an easy income are the real scams.

How it Works

Most ads that you’ll see for Mystery Shoppers are actually scams that will end up hitting you up for $19.95, $29.95 or $49.95. Once you pay this “application charge,” you will be supplied with a list of places and companies that may hire Mystery Shoppers – the keyword being may.

Usually this list they provide you with is just a collection of department store addresses with additional contact information. There are other mystery shopper scams out there that will require you to actually buy merchandise from a specific store. The employer will then promise to reimburse you but will almost always find a reason not to.

Reality Check

The bottomline is that Mystery Shopping is nowhere near as glamorous as it seems. Ordinarily, people with experience such as Merchandise Managers who have many years of experience partake in these programs since they have extensive knowledge when it comes to suppliers, prices, products, special promotions, etc. Generally, this does not involve actually buying the merchandise. Furthermore, stores need to rotate the people they send out for these “spy missions” so their competitors won’t catch on. It is because of this reason that Mystery Shopping can never be a full time or permanent type of job.