Beware of Secret Shopper Scams!

Secret shoppers are also known as mystery shoppers or under cover shoppers.

Secret shoppers do exist but beware most of these are actually scams! You may spot many adverts like this when you’re browsing on the internet. Some people are interested in participating in this field as it can be fun, make you a little money and potentially get your hands on free products and services. But this temptation of free goodies and easy money earner is exactly what criminals use to con victims. There are various tactics that scammers use so be vigilant and read on to find out more.

What is a secret shopper?

Some retailers and restaurants use companies to assess the service in their shops by using mystery shoppers to get the information they’re after.

The secret shopper is instructed to visit a certain store or restaurant and evaluate the experience. Usually the shopper will be instructed to purchase a particular item and then report on the overall experience they encountered. You don’t usually get paid for your time but you normally get reimbursed or can keep the goods.

Don’t ever pay to “sign up”

There are lots of fake secret shopper websites which tell you to register your details and pay a fee. They make you believe the opportunity is worth paying for and once you sign up it’s a process of waiting to be contacted or you get given a list or directory. Not all will ask you to pay up, some will just be glad to get the personal details you provide to them. BE CAREFUL!

It’s needless to pay anyone to get into the mystery shopper business, this is often done as a hobby not a full time job. Also, don’t fall for being offered to pay for a certification, a qualification is certainly not needed for this line of work. If you search on the internet you’ll find genuine undercover shopper requests, for free!

Cheque Cashing Scam

The cheque cashing scam is one we’ve heard about. You’ve been assigned to evaluate a money transfer service or a similar sort of financial organisation. You’re given a cheque to cash in and instructed to send some of the money back to the mystery shopping company. The part you’re told you can keep is supposedly payment for the job. But the catch here is that the cheque is in fact fake and will eventually bounce – but this will only happen after the money is sent, leaving the you, the sender out of pocket. The best advice to follow is not to cash cheques or transfer funds for anyone. No matter how believable it may sound, stay well away!


If you’re interested in becoming a secret shopper take all of this on board and hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for. Legitimate companies will be out there, it may just take some time to find them.

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