Paid to Shop / Mystery Shopping Q & A

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These are my own words and experiences. Please note: others may have a differing point of view.

What is Mystery Shopping?

A. Mystery Shopping is being hired by a company or Independent Contractor to shop at a certain store and evaluate its performance by giving feedback.

When Looking for Mystery Shopping opportunities what are the most common terms I should look for in a search engine?

A. Mystery Shoppers, Mystery Shopping, Mystery Guest, Mspa, Mystery Shopping Providers Association, Secret Shoppers, Secret Shopping, Independent Contractors, Certified Fieldworker, Marketing Research, Mystery Customers, Secret Customers, Mystery Customer, Secret Customer, Undercover Shoppers, Paid to Shop, Paid 2 Shop, Paid2shop, Ghost shoppers, Shop Audits and of course any combination of the above mixed. 

Is Mystery Shopping difficult to do?

A. No, Mystery Shopping is rather easy. You have to review and make notes on a questionnaire before you go into a store or an eating establishment. As you can't just walk in with your questionnaire and start ticking things off. You do however have to be VERY observant and have a very good memory. If you aren't either of those then this isn't the job for you.

Do you have to pay a fee to be a Mystery Shopper?

A. No. Mystery Shopping pays you. You should never have to pay for a database or for an assignment. It doesn't work that way. You are to be paid, not them. However, sometimes you have to pay for items to obtain a receipt as proof of job completion, but you are normally reimbursed for any purchases. Most receipts have to be sent within a certain time frame and are usually are scanned, emailed, faxed or posted in.

How are you paid?

A. It depends on the company, some pay by check (cheque in the UK), cash, vouchers, PayPal, direct deposit. Most Mystery Shops pay by the job you are contracted for, this is why we don't list payment methods on our listings as it varies greatly. Please note you are NEVER mailed a large check and told to deposit it to transfer funds. You are also never told to Western Union anything from a legit Mystery Shopping company. These types of MS are scams. 

Is there anything I should be concerned about?

A. Yes. Scams are going around whereby a fake Mystery Shopping company sends you a check (cheque in the UK) and asks you to deposit it. They ask you to send the rest to someone else at a Western Union or similar type companies. This is a fraudulent scam and should be reported ASAP. Mystery Shopping has nothing to do with this sort of thing. They can appear very legit and even a well-known company you may have worked in the past. You should inform that company about the issue as well. You are never mailed a check before you start any job via online or off. You are also never texted or mailed from a company you didn't sign up for. If someone texts you and you do not know them, don't reply. Doing so can alert them the number is active and the scam texts will not stop.  To report such things, there are many companies listed here: If you hear of a friend or family member dealing with the same thing, please send them that page to help aid in reporting.

Useful links for more information on mystery shopper scams: You will never be asked to purchase anything, and you can end your membership at any time. 

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