Mystery shopping is a great way to either supplement your income, and in some instances can even be a sufficient income on it’s own for certain people. Unfortunately, due to the increasing dependence of technology on mystery shopping, it is now becoming easy for criminals to send spoof information to vulnerable people who can be conned into passing personal and financial details over which can cause significant financial loss. Thankfully, we have provided an overview of the mystery shopping scams that currently exist, along with some hints and tips to protect yourselves to falling victim.
What scams are out there? How can I avoid mystery shopping scams?
The key thing to remember is that if something does sound too good to be true, it probably very much is. Below we have outlined some common scams currently operating within the mystery shopping industry:
Money transfer: The scammer requests money from the recipient using a non-refundable money transfer service. Once the money has been received, the recipient has no more contact from the scammer as they have obtained what they want. Ensure that you never hand money out when looking for a mystery shopper assignment.
Bounced Cheques: The scammer sends a cheque to the recipient, of much higher value that was expected. When cashed, the cheque will clear and funds will become available. However, the scammer will ask the recipient to pay back the difference when the cheque eventually bounces. Ensure that you ensure that you receive the correct money and do not transfer any money to the recipient.
Club Memberships: The scammer offers the recipient exclusive club membership by offering a small fee to join and as a result offering the ability to search mystery shopping assignments and access mystery shopping companies. There are some great mystery shopping companies out there. Ensure that you don’t fall for such a scam. Mystery shopping opportunities and company information is freely available from credible sites. Although fees for joining such sites are small, scammers rely on lots of people to join in order to make a decent return.
More mystery shopping scams to look out for
Fake Software: This scam installs software on a users computer whether it be a guide, e-book or photo. This allows the attacker to access personal data stored on your computer. This could be things such as bank details stored for online shopping or bank accounts. Ensure that you only download e-mail attachments that have come from a known source.
Product Refund: The individual takes an assignment either at a real or on-line store. As part of the task, you are informed that you will be re-funded for the cost of the item. When re-imbursement via cheque arrives, the check does not clear meaning that the individual has been scammed. Avoid such an occurrence by only dealing with reputable companies. Additionally, only buy moderately priced items as a further precautionary measure.
Conclusion – mystery shopping scams
Mystery shopping is a brilliant way to supplement your income whether a student, part or full-time worker or retired person. Most mystery shopping companies are genuine and will not ask for any fees up front. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and some companies request payments in a range of formats from unknowing individuals. By following our advice above, we aim to prevent this from happening, potentially helping people to save thousands of pounds. You can find details online to help you spot mystery shopping scams and stay safe.