Is it 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

questioning people

Image courtesy of and Smarnad

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 resources, 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!

 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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Which mystery shopping company would you recommend ??