How do I know if it’s a Real Mystery Shopping Company or a Scam?

Hi Queen!

I’ve just started with Mystery Shopping, and I still can’t seem to tell a real company from a scam artist.  I called on an ad in the newspaper, and they wanted me to pay them $75 to be a mystery shopper!  What’s up with that?

-No fee Shopper

I cannot say this enough, so repeat it aloud until it gets into your subconscious and haunts you in your dreams:


That’s pretty much the easy distinction between a real company and one that’s not.  But there are some points to note:

1) Mystery Shopping companies generally don’t advertise in the newspaper.  MERCHANDISING companies do, but Mystery Shopping companies generally don’t.  If ever you see an ad for Mystery Shopping, they’re just trying to sell you something.

2) Those companies that advertise in the newspaper AREN’T necessarily scams!  They’re just charging you for information or a service.  For example, you have to pay a fee for my Mystery Shopper Training Program  but you get a LOT of good information!  There are other people out there like me who charge for our knowledge…we’re not scam artists…we’re called “consultants.”

3) ALWAYS check out the company before you pay a fee, and know what you’re getting for your money.  If they’re listed in our manual as a company, they’re legit. You can also check out other resouces, message boards, and websites to see what other shoppers think of companies.

4) Stay away from the ads in your email that want you to take a survey to “earn” $1000 to shop with…or the ones that have you complete 6 offers in order to get a gift card. Don’t trust any unsolicited email. I have yet to hear anything nice about those companies.

The more you’re in the industry, the more you can figure out who is actually offering assignments, and who is trying to sell services or information.  Some do both…some do neither.  For now, stay away from paying fees, and start with the companies in the back of your book, or in the resource section to find companies in your area.

Good luck and Happy Shopping!

If you found this article helpful, consider getting the full Mystery Shopper Training Course containing 2 hours of video and a complete manual with over 170 legitimate mystery shopping companies!

About Queen Buzzy

I am a twice-published author, presenter, and educator that focuses on legitimate work at home jobs, avoiding scams and entrepreneurship. I love the idea of indie business owners collaborating to share their knowledge with others. I firmly believe in the adage, "If you help enough people get what they need, you'll ultimately get what you need."
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7 Responses to How do I know if it’s a Real Mystery Shopping Company or a Scam?

  1. debrachaffin says:

    What can you tell me about RazorFocus Customer Reserch Inc.? Is it a legitimate Mystery Shopper company?

  2. Queen Buzzy says:

    @debrachaffin Hi Debra! Do you have a website for them? How did you hear about them? Do they have a phone number, address or email address? Did you contact them? There are hundreds of mystery shopping companies nationwide…I haven’t heard of that particular one, but I can’t tell you if they’re legit or not without more information.

  3. KellyTruelove says:

    Mystery shopping is a popular form of market research, and in today’s economy, more people are turning to shopping as an income source. However, with this increase also comes a rise in scams preying on unsuspecting people. Never pay to mystery shop. You should never pay for a list of companies or for the “best jobs.” Most of the resources out there, aren’t resources at all, and are in fact a money-making enterprise for someone as opposed to a genuine resource for you. Those sites have altered, outdated, and just plain bad information. You can find hundreds of companies and thousands of jobs all for free with just a little bit of research. In addition to the great info offered here on this blog, here’s an article that will help you get started:

  4. Heavensent61 says:

    I got a United State Postal Service Money order  to do this

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