What is a Mystery Shopper Scam?

A mystery shopper scam is a type of scam that involves the victim being enticed into employment for the purpose of conducting mystery shopper reviews. Job seekers are sent an unsolicited email stating that they are searching for a mystery shopper or secret shopper, and that the lucky candidate will be in a position to earn a great deal of money within a short period of time.

How does a mystery shopper scam work?

A mystery shopper scam works in the following way: If a job seeker responds to an advertisement that is looking for a mystery shopper, they will contact the company about the position. The company will inform them that they can purchase items at different stores, or dine at various restaurants. Once enticed, the individual will be sent an employment packet.

Contained within the employment packet includes business evaluation forms, a training assignment and a cashier’s check. The assignment stipulates that the individual has 48 hours to complete the task. They are required to cash the check, pose as a customer and wire the money to a pre-specified address.

Once the individual has wired the money to the company, the check eventually bounces. They then lose their money and are left with less than what they started with.

How to spot a mystery shopper job scam

  • They are sent from an unsolicited email address
  • They guarantee fast money making opportunities
  • They promise the guarantee of a job
  • They charge a fee for the application pack or for listed jobs
  • They do not have an established office close nearby that you can visit in person
  • They ask you to deposit a check and wire the money to someone

Tips on how to approach a mystery shopper advertisement

  • Always approach a mystery shopper job opportunity with skepticism
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau or other similar organization to establish the legitimacy of the advertisement
  • Report a job scam immediately