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Unraveling The Mysteries Of "mystery Shopping"

Author: Marguerite Willett

Unraveling the mysteries of \

Some companies conduct an innovative form of self-evaluation by employing individuals they hire as "mystery shoppers." In this position, you make a purchase in a given store and honestly evaluate your experience as a customer, reporting your findings to the company and receiving some form of payment - either in free merchandise or monetary compensation.

This is, in plenty of instances, a perfectly above-board manner to make some quick money. However, if you choose to investigate this opportunity, there are a number of considerations you should take into account. In some cases, this can be a method in which disreputable marketers and other scam artists cheat you out of your hard-earned money, but it can be avoided if you're careful.

The chief tactic used by scamming organizations is to ask you to pay a fee to learn information about how to be a mystery shopper or to guarantee further employment. Although the very idea of paying money to learn about a contract-position job such as this probably seems utterly absurd – as it should – individuals may fall for the offer if it is presented in a convincing manner.

In truth, no company that offers legitimate mystery shopping services would require you to pay for the privilege of working for them. As with any other job, you find open opportunities in this field through standard job search channels, and apply for it along with various other individuals. Either you receive the position or you don't – like any other job.

Another version of the mystery shopping scam is being asked to evaluate a money order business, receiving a cashier's check that you deposit in your bank account and then withdraw to wire to someone else. That check could easily be fraudulent, and you'll be held responsible for the money that is withdrawn. If you come upon such an offer, steer clear of it immediately. 

Would you be willing to take on a mystery shopping gig?

In Brief

  • Some companies conduct an innovative form of self-evaluation by employing individuals they hire as "mystery shoppers."

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