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Mystery Shopping Scam

Lately I have been hearing of quite a few people, that have received and email about mystery shopping, unfortunately for most this is a scam and you should stay well away from it. The scammers are using legitimate sites to imitate, such as Cashcrate and just this morning I got an email from someone who was concerned about a Mystery shopping offer they had purportedly got from Global Test Market.

This is the email that I received this morning.

Hi I have received emails from Dr Mathew Wallace saying he is the HR Manager for Global test marketing. I have been offered to do a mystery shopper for western union and told I’ll receive the money to send plus $500 for my time . I just want to verify that this is legitimate and not a scam. It sounds a bit too good to be true.
Thanks
Sharon
Greensborough, Victoria, Australia

One thing that stood out about this email was “it sounds too good to be true” if that is the case most likely you are going to be involved in a scam if you continue, let’s face it if you haven’t entered a lottery, then you haven’t won anything and if a long-lost relative has just passed away leaving you several million dollars, well that probably isn’t true either. Whilst those scams are just outrageous and are easy to spot, the Mystery shopping scam can easily hook someone.

Things to look out for, the email will claim to come from a legitimate survey site and can even be made to look like that it has come from the site itself, it only takes 5 minutes to make a convincing looking email. The mystery shopping task will most likely involve receiving a cheque in the mail and then asking you to deposit that cheque into your bank account and then send some money via Western Union and keep anywhere from $200 to $500 for yourself.

They will ask you to send the money via Western Union to:

Upson Dawn
17 Dust Road Quezon City
Manila, Philippines 1124

Or to another individual in the Philippines.

It has also been reported that their usual claim is that they are the Human Resources manager for the site that they are imitating.

So what happens if you go through with the task.
You may not know that here in Australia if you get a cheque in international funds for a small amount it will be cleared straight away or over night and available for use, this cheque is then sent to the issuing bank to be processed, this whole process can take a 2 to 4 weeks to complete. In the mean time though with the funds in your account, you go down to the Western Union office and send money to the address they have given you, be very wary of Western Union, for once you have sent money through them there is no way to get a refund from them.

Once your cheque finally bounces those funds are then removed from your bank account and you have now lost what ever amount you sent through Western Union with no recourse and no chance of ever recovering the lost money. So be careful the Mystery shopping scam is running rampant and if you get an email in your inbox, your best course of action is to delete it.

Update: 6th April 2012

I have just found an email to invite me to participate in Mystery Shopping, a complete and utter scam as we have already discussed, below is a copy of the email that I received just a few hours ago.

B.Business Solutions, Inc
55 Greystone Drive •
Mountaintop, PA 18707

B.Business Solutions was founded in 1986 to provide detailed management support to maximize every promotional dollar for each and every product we represent. It was determined
that there was a need to coordinate and execute successfully on-shelf merchandising and in-store demonstrations.B.Business Solutions has developed proprietary management systems to ensure in-store execution at the highest success rate possible. We report the results in the form of increased sales. We have seen product increases at the rate of 4000%. We’ve developed a client base that has returned year after year to utilize our services. Our Senior Management team has extensive years of retail experience and we understand all aspects of retail . We know how to gain distribution for your product, merchandise your product for maximize sales, and promote it with in-store features and in-store demonstrations. If you want to give your product a jump start or a new product a fair chance of winning over consumers then use B.Business Solutions to make sure this happens.

POSITION TITLE: Mystery Shopper

AVAILABILITY: Open

START DATE: Immediate

COMMISSION: $ 500 Per Week

Make a Difference: Become a Mystery Shopper (Secret Shopper) !! Mystery Shopping, which is also referred to as Secret Shopping, is an information-gathering service that allows companies to gather first-hand information about their business. Merchandising jobs involve light, hands on work with the products stores sell.
We are constantly looking for observant, conscientious people with strong attention to detail to conduct our mystery shopping, secret shopping or merchandising jobs in well-known stores, restaurants, theatres and banks in your community. By becoming a secret shopper, you will conduct important studies, such as operational evaluations, theatre checks and retail audits that allow our clients to improve their on-site experience for their customers. You’re in control.

How Mystery Shopping and Merchandising Work:

Our mystery shoppers, or secret shoppers, are independent contractors who typically enter our clients’ locations anonymously, conduct themselves normally inside the location, evaluate a variety of criteria on their experience and then fill out our Form Below, which is reviewed, processed and passed on to our client, but as an independent contractor, you can always add ideas to improvement on work survey analysis.

Qualities of a good Mystery Shopper:

* Loves to go shopping
* Is fair and objective
* Is ON TIME
* Is very observant and able to focus on details
* Is fairly intelligent
* Has patience
* Is detail oriented
* Is practical
* Types well
* Is trustworthy
* Explains well in writing
* Is discreet
* Loves to learn
* Handles deadlines
* Has full internet access (at home or at work)

We presently have a couple of outstanding contracts, which means you will be directed to outlets, firms and corporate bodies to report on your experience by forwarding us a mail.

PLEASE NOTE: You will be provided funds in advance for any upcoming survey via Checks, Money Order and Wire Transactions to cover expenses.Mystery Shopping is fun and exciting but also must be approached very seriously and is definitely not for everyone.If you are interested in applying for consideration as a Mystery Shopper do Fill out below Form Space

Full Name:
Address:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Phone Number:
Age:
Occupation:
Nationality:
e-mail:

As soon as we receive your information we will add you to our database and we will look for locations in your area that needs to be evaluated.Send the Information requested above to the E-mail address given below

larrygbriel12@ gmail com

N:B – IF YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE CHECKING YOUR MAIL AND REPLYING THEM ON A DAILY BASIS, THEN YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED FOR THIS OFFER Your response would be highly appreciated.

Thank you,

Larry Gabriel
B.Business Solutions, Inc
55 Greystone Drive •
Mountaintop, PA 18707
larrygbriel12 @gmail com

This may all look very legit on the surface, but lets look a bit closer, the person in question here would like me to respond via email and if you notice the email is hosted by gmail, a free email account that google owns. I’m sorry but any legitimate company in this day and age would have their own website and their own email address, for less then $100 you can easily register a domain name get 12 months of hosting and setup your email accounts.

This is a big give away not only for the mystery shopping scam but any internet scam, if you are sending a return email to a free email address then be wary as no doubt you about to be scammed. Not only that, look at all the personal information they want you to provide, are you really comfortable with providing all of that and here is the kicker, they want your email address, hang on, didn’t they just send you the email, shouldn’t they know that already?

There is some legitimate Mystery Shopping companies out there, but I can tell you from experience that they do not recruit new people by sending them unsolicited email other wisse known as spam.

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3 Responses to “Mystery Shopping Scam” »

  1. Comment by Henry — July 31, 2013 @ 3:54 am

    Hi Adam

    In the last few days I have been looking at mystery shopping as a means of making a few more extra $$s on the side. Just now I applied for this offer

    I have checked out AboveBenchmark and they seem legit, their job post is listen on a Government website, their website looks professional/legitimate and they have a facebook page with active members who sing their praises.

    I know I may seem buggy with the questions but I was just wondering if you have had any experience with them, and for that matter any others that you would recommend giving a shot. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    All the best!

    • Comment by Adam — August 15, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

      Hi Henry,

      I have delayed answering this question for a bit whilst I did a bit more research into Mystery Shopping to give you my thoughts, first off I edited out the link that you provided as it no longer existed, no point having a dead link upon site if I can help it.

      Secondly and I would love to hear some feedback from those of who have partipated in mystery shopping before. There looks to be some legitimate mystery shopping offers out there and some that I would stay well clear of. The one that really sticks out is taking a new car for a test drive. I have been in sales for over 20 years and I can tell you taking a car for a simple test drive can actually end up in you buying a car that you don’t need or can not afford.

      My definition of sales, is to get someone who is not interested in the product and have them walk out buying the product, thinking it was their idea to purchase the product and that they got a good deal. Any sales person that is half decent should be able to do this and as such I would be very wary of conducting any Mystery Shopping exercise at a car yard.

      No doubt there would be some good and legitimate offers out there for Mystery Shopping, but I would think all the good offers would get snapped up quick, so I guess yes it is a way to make alittle bit on the side or to get some discounted goods, but I would very careful in any mystery shopping offers that you may take up.

  2. Comment by Nigel — December 4, 2013 @ 12:35 am

    re: Mystery Shopping

    Coredata is worth joining ($150 for a loan enquiry) the rest are hard work, but can be fun. Stick to focus groups if you want to make fun and easy money..not a fortune though.

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