Is it a real job or a scam: Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping: real or scam?

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Photostock

Dear Buzzy,

I got this email the other day, and I was wondering…is it a real job or a scam?  I know you like Mystery Shopping, and I just wanted to get your professional opinion~

Thanks!

-Mystery Mike

One of  America’s largest, discount departmental outlet is re-branding.

The Retail Industry is a competitive world, with each retailer vying for the attention of consumers in an increasingly clustered market. We do not want to rely on proprietary data collection processes and technology alone, we need appraisers to collect specific data about their experience and opinions when they visit this any of our outlets, in a time efficient and cost effective manner.

Closed Book Consumer Evaluation is a tool used by market research companies to measure quality of retail service or gather specific information about products and services. Your ability to pose as normal customers perform specific tasks such as; purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way – and then provide precise feedbacks about your exploit .

The purpose of Mystery Shopping is to help businesses increase sales and improve employee customer service awareness. We provide businesses with more information than other mystery shopping company through the use of questionnaires and detailed narratives. Once we have a task, you will be directed to the company or outlet and you will be given funds to either purchase things or require services, after which you would write a comment on the staff activities and give a detailed report of your experience. Some of the common details and information are:

the date and time of the visit
the name of the store
number of employees in the store on entering
how long it takes before the mystery shopper is greeted
the name of the employee(s)
whether or not the greeting is friendly
the questions asked by the shopper to find a suitable product
the questions asked by the employee(s)
the types of products shown
whether the employee invited the shopper to come back to the store
cleanliness of store and store associates
speed of service
compliance with company standards relating to service, store appearance, and grooming/presentation

After this, we turn the information over to the company executives and they would carry out their own duties in improving there services.

Recruitment: Initially, we will add you to our database of Mystery Shoppers. Then, when we need someone in your area who matches your profile, we’ll give you a call and describe the project to see if you are interested.

Sometimes we will arrange for a mini-interview on phone.  Include the Details below, so we can add you to our database. (Payment will also be sent to your address)

First Name:
Last Name:
Street Address(No Po Box Accpeptable) :
City :
State :
Zip Code :
Cell Phone Number/Home Phone Number :
Age:
Current Occupation:
Alternate Email Address :
AVAILABILITY: Days/Hours Available

Your information will be reviewed and processed and Your application will be approved through extensive background check. Immediately this is done we will give a phone call or send an email to let you know your placement with our company.

YOUR FIRST EVALUATION ($200)
You will be giving cash to shop at any Wal-Mart location. All you have to do is walk into any of its location buy, buy and buy till you exhaust the $100, but you have to be in the store for at least one hour, watching and taking note of everything. Remember, everything you buy is totally yours.The management of Wal-Mart intends to change the store’s environment, color, payment procedures, gift items and shopping/carrier bags etc, it’s also looking into putting a stop to poor services, shoplifting, over-billing cash customers, wasting customer’s precious time and credit card scams, but with the interest of its customers in mind.For this reasons they have decided to give there customers a great opportunity to decide.The balance of $100 is your commission for this task. You will be allocated $300 for this section , in which you will spend $100 on shopping and the remaining $100 is for yourself.

NOTE: You are to attach the Wal-Mart receipt of every thing you buy to the report

YOUR SECOND EVALUATION ( Between $600 – $2550)
The 2nd evaluation is MoneyGram International (Wal-Mart Location)
A lot of Wal-Mart customers have reported lapses in MoneyGram services in some Wal-Mart Stores around the U.S. Our need to act is based on reports and complaints which some customers forwarded anonymously and phone calls that were  made to our head office.

1) To make a transfer of funds from a Wal-Mart location to our Agent in another state with the remaining funds after you complete your first task. Funds would be picked up by our mystery shopper at the exact location which a customer reported her funds stolen from.

2) You will have to record the time at which you got to the MoneyGram Section of Wal-Mart and how many minutes it took you to get the service.

3) Upon finishing your first task, you will look for a Wal-Mart location around you to carry out your task and also the Name and address of whom the Mystery shopper transfer would be made to will sent to you. You would have to keep a comprehensive report on every activity you carry out.

4) You will also provide me with the name of the cashier that attended to you along with the name of the Wal-Mart store and address. Your report should be drafted and sent to me via email immediately the transfer is made .

Money orders/Check of  between $800 – $2,850 will be mailed out via FedEx or UPS.

Please acknowledge the receipt of  this email by replying  YES WAL MART! and please make sure you type in the following information below as a reply to this email and also attach your resume for me.

Hi Mike,
Wow…that is one long email!  I can understand why you might think it’s real, just because they give so much information.  There are several red flags, however, so let’s dissect them one by one:

1) No legitimate Mystery Shopping company sends out blanket emails to random people in hopes of finding shoppers.  They don’t advertise on Craigslist or Monster.com or any job board.  You will ONLY get an email from a mystery shopping company if you are already signed up for that particular mystery shopping company.

2) The potential “employer” doesn’t give their company name or contact information directly.  In fact, the email address that they contacted you with (not visible on this post) is from Gmail.  If it was a real mystery shopping company, they would have stated who they were.  There’s no reason to hide when you’re legitimate.

3) Mystery Shops do NOT pay $200.  They don’t.  They average between $10-$50.

4) Wal-Mart is very popular in these types of scams, because generally people who are lower income shop there. By targeting a Wal-Mart shopper, the scammer thinks that they’re getting someone who is already down on their luck, desperate for money, and susceptible to being scammed.  Think about it…if they were trying to get you to shop “Nordstroms” using this scenario, it definitely would feel more fishy.

5) Mystery Shopping companies do not require that you wire money to another agent in another state.  This scammer wants to use you as a money-mule.  Once the money is sent, you’ll learn that your checks were bogus and you’ll be out a lot of money.

Conclusion: Complete scam.

 Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company.  Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!


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