For people who love to go shopping (which is probably all of us), mystery shopping is perhaps the best way to shop without feeling remorse afterward.
Because as a mystery shopper, you will actually be paid to shop!
Becoming a mystery shopper for a company usually doesn’t cost you anything. The jobs are also not that hard, and it seems that at one glance, mystery shopping is an easy way to make money.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case!
As amazing as it sounds, one of the challenges of being a mystery shopper is how to find a legitimate company that is worth your time and effort.
Mystery shopping scams have been prevalent all these years, and if you’re not too careful, you could lose money instead of earning some.
So in this article, we will discuss all you need to know about mystery shopping and what are some of the most trusted mystery shopping companies by other people.
What is Mystery Shopping
According to Wikipedia, mystery shopping is a method used externally by market research companies or watchdog organizations, or internally by companies themselves, to measure the quality of service, or compliance with regulation, or to gather specific information about products and services.
In layman’s terms, mystery shopping is when establishments hire average people like you and me as mystery shoppers (aka mystery consumers or secret shoppers) to provide feedback about a product or experience a brand’s service.
How Will Mystery Shopper’s Make Money
As a mystery shopper, you will be instructed to visits a website, a brick, and mortar store, purchase food from a restaurant, order a product, or a similar task.
You will then provide honest feedback about your experience to the mystery shopper company that hires you.
Once you’ve provided them with all the information they specified at the start of the task (job), you will get paid.
Unfortunately, there have been many instances when a mystery shopper didn’t get paid after they have completed their tasks.
Worse, there are verified cases when people, instead of earning money as a mystery shopper, lose a lot of money instead.
There has been a prevalent mystery shopping scam that victimizes non-suspecting people and stole them of their hard earn money.
Here’s how the infamous mystery shopping scam works.
Mystery Shopping Scam Exposed
Now, if mystery shopping is something you are excited to do, there are some things you need to know first.
For starters, most mystery shopping companies, legitimate ones, don’t usually scan every job postings on their website.
There is no incentive for them to providing extra security for their members as anyone who passes their requirements can join for free.
Therefore, scanning the legitimate job offers from scams falls into the better judgment of mystery shoppers themselves.
Any third party can post a job, even a false one, to scam people.
A common MO of these mystery shopping scammers is offering huge pay rates ranging from $100 – $500 by completing a single job.
Naturally, anyone’s interest would be piqued. I know I would.
The scam goes like this…
- At first, the third party will gain your trust by exchanging seemingly harmless conversation with you, either through text, phone, or email – a fake interview.
- Once they gained your trust, they will then ask for your address and send you a check worth several thousand dollars.
- You will then be instructed to keep a few hundred dollars for you as your payment in advance and use the remaining balance to complete the task.
- A common task would be for you to do a little shopping, maybe spend $100 on popular brands like Walmart or Target. This would make you think that the said establishments are the ones who hired you.
- Once you’re done shopping, you will then be instructed to deposit the remaining balance, usually amounting to a few thousand dollars, into a given bank account.
It does seem like a good and easy way to make money, right? Wrong!
What you and those who have fallen victim to this scam didn’t know is that the check is a fake. So what does this mean?
Well, base on how the system is set up today, it will take a few days for a bank to cash an issued check. The scammers know about this which.
And when the time comes that the bank discovers about the fake check, the scammers will be long gone.
You will not be able to contact them anymore, and you will then be forced to cover all the fees and the payments made during all the transactions.
How to Avoid Mystery Shopping Scams
As most mystery shopping companies don’t prioritize keeping you away from scammers, you have to take security in your own hands.
Below are some tips on how to protect yourself from mystery shopping scams.
#1 Read the Fine Print
Before accepting any mystery shopping job, be sure to read the fine print of the hiring company.
If they do not have a corporate website or any trusted information, don’t bother joining.
And, even if there is information, the next step is to verify if the information is accurate.
Because even a company is legitimate, you have to familiarize yourself with the company policies, especially the terms of payment.
Many people who have claimed a mystery shopping company has scammed them…
Or those that haven’t been paid even if they’ve completed a job root from misunderstandings in the payment policy of the company.
Make sure that the terms of the contract are something that you are comfortable with.
#2 Do Your Research
The most important task for you is to research the company offering the job. A simple Google search for reviews is just not enough.
You should never rely heavily on positive reviews because they can be bought.
Instead, notice and pay attention to those negative reviews.
See what other people are complaining about the company and find means to verify as much information as you can.
#3 Don’t Pay to Play
If any company requests money from you to get paid, even the most legitimate reason like “getting certified for mystery shopping gigs,” my advice is don’t fall for it.
Mystery shopping jobs should earn you money, not take money away from you.
Think about it, any company that needs feedback on their products or services should be paying the mystery shoppers for the information, not the other way around.
#4 Payments Before Job Completion
While cash advance is somewhat normal in the corporate world, it is not the same for mystery shopping jobs.
Who would pay someone they don’t know in advance for a job that hasn’t been completed yet?
What if you run with the money? What if you do a poor job?
They don’t know you, and going after you for a hundred bucks seems like a lost cause.
So it doesn’t make sense that someone will send you a check in advance for a mystery shopping job unless they have something up their sleeves.
After knowing these things, do you still feel like mystery shopping is where you want to make money?
Then let’s find out how you can become one.
How To Become a Mystery Shopper
You will need to visit the website of the company you want to do mystery shopping.
Look for a signup form and complete the requirements, and you can start before you know it.
To help you out, we took the liberty to provide you with a few of the top-rated and most trusted mystery shopping companies today.
Bare Naked Scam’s Top Mystery Shopping Companies
#1 Sinclair Customer Metrics
Sinclair Customer Metrics (aka Sinclair) is a well-established name when it comes to mystery shopping. The company was founded way back in 1987 by Robert Sinclair.
Sinclair will pay you in check via mail. Your earnings for the current month will be paid the following month.
Many people are saying good things about Sinclair, but there are also crucial things that you need to know about this company.
IntelliShop (intelli-shop.com) is a company that hires residents in the US as mystery shoppers for market research.
The company was founded by Ron Welty way back in 1999 and is still accepting members to date.
Based on the different IntelliShop reviews I’ve found on the Internet, it appears that each mystery shopping job will pay you between $3 up to $30, depending on the job that you complete.
Find out more about IntelliShop.
#3 Shadow Shopper
This is another popular mystery shopping company that has been around for a while.
Shadow Shopper was founded by Christopher Valeri and David Nienberg way back in 2003 at Carson City, Nevada.
You can join Shadow Shopper for free, but the company’s paid membership is something that you have to watch out for.
Here’s what you need to know about SS.
BestMark is a mystery shopping company that has a fantastic reputation.
You need to be 19 year old with a reliable source of transportation and excellent communication skills to apply as a mystery shopper for BestMark.
BestMark is considered by many to be the #1 mystery shopping company.
But I have my reasons why I only have BestMark on #4. (Find out why)
How do you like our top 4 mystery shopping companies? Here are a few more…
#5 A Customer’s Point of View (ACPVIEW)
A Customer’s Point of View started way back in 1997.
Excellent writing skills and attention to minor details are the “must” if you want to do mystery shopping with ACPVIEW.
#6 Secret Shopper
Secret Shopper is a newer mystery shopping company that has been gaining popularity recently.
This company will pay you by check on the 20th of the month, every month. Secret Shopper requires that you be 18 years old to be part of their mystery shopping jobs.
#7 Market Force
Market Force is an established mystery shopping company since 1972. Most people like this company, and you can feel comfortable signing up with them.
However, Market Force is perhaps one of the least accessible mystery shopping companies out there as it requires applicants to be 18 years old with a high school diploma to qualify to be a mystery shopper.
Are there any other most trusted mystery shopping companies that you want to include on this list? What are they?
Feel free to leave a comment below.
Should You Become A Mystery Shopper
There are undeniable perks of being a mystery shopper for legitimate companies.
On top of the fact that you can join for free, you will also get a chance to earn money in an exciting and fun way – shopping!
But while being a mystery shopper seems like a good gig, keep in mind that you cannot hope to make a full-time income with this opportunity.
And if you’re okay with that, then you go ahead and give one or two of the top mystery shopping companies above a try.
Meanwhile, if what you’re looking for is an opportunity that could potentially save you from the rat-race…
I know of an excellent business program that allowed me to fire my boss, quit my 9 – 5 job, and still earn a full-time income from home.
I know these all sound too good to be true, but here are my proofs.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article in the most trusted mystery shopping companies today.
I hope that you find this information worth your while, and if you have any questions, leave a comment below.
Furthermore, should you be interested in finding other means to make money online…
Here’s a signup form for a FREE online course that will teach you how to turn your passion into profits.
Until here, and I wish you all the best in the future.