Don't Pay to Be a Mystery Shopper

In the last several months, we have seen increased activity among scammers attempting to take your money and as a trusted mystery shopping provider.  If you have received a letter from a fraudulent mystery shop company, we suggest you contact one or all of the following:

  • Your local police department. Ask for the Cyber Crimes department or an investigator.
  • Your local FBI office or submit a tip electronically.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit FTC Contact, call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580.

Here are some of the clues that will help you identify the contact as a scam:

  • You are sent 'money' in the form of a check in advance of you performing a shop. The checks are typically fraudulent and the financial institution where you deposit them may collect the deficiency from you. 
  • You are asked to pay money to become a shopper. Legitimate mystery shopping firms never ask for money from a shopper. A good source to consult about current scams is the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA).
  • Offer includes a high payment amount for a relatively easy assignment. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! Beware of marketers who send you a large check that you are to deposit into your account, then ask you to send a portion of the deposit back to them and claim you may keep the remaining balance as a fee for your service.