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How Many Miles Are You Expected to Travel to Do a Mystery Shop?

A shopper asks:
How far do mystery shopping companies expect us to drive to do a shop? I often get requests to do jobs hundreds of miles from my home! Do they really expect me to travel that far for a $15 assignment? My gas would cost more than that!

No, they do not expect you to drive hundreds of miles to do a shop. Getting a notice of an available shop does not mean that you are expected to do it. Mystery shoppers are independent contractors, and we decide what assignments we are willing to do and what fees we will accept. So why did they send it to you?
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Why Do Mystery Shopping Companies Change Name?

Have you noticed that a company you have been working with for years will suddenly have a new name? It seems to happen a lot these days. When I recently updated the free list of mystery shopping companies, I noticed that several companies had changed their names.

Why does it happen? It doesn’t mean that the company is trying to hide anything. There are several possible reasons for a name change. Let’s look at a few.
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How Should I Dress for Mystery Shops?

Mystery shoppers need to be professional in appearance and attitude, so how should we dress when we are doing mystery shops? Should we dress in business attire, or is it fine to wear jeans and a t-shirt? As with so many of the other questions surrounding mystery shopping, the answer is “it depends.”

The most important consideration is how other customers dress. Mystery shoppers need to look and act like other customers of the business. We need to blend in and not stand out because we are very under- or over-dressed. Let’s look at a few examples.Continue Reading

Scammers Send Credit Cards Instead of Checks

credit-card-scamI have written more times than I can count about the mystery shopper scam where scammers send fake checks to people who believe they have been selected as mystery shoppers. The victims are told to cash the checks, evaluate local businesses, then wire money to other “shoppers” or back to the scammer. Some time later, the victim discovers that the check they deposited was fraudulent and the bank expects them to return any money they received from the bad check. Individual victims have lost thousands of dollars to these scams, and the total stolen is in the millions.

Now there is a new twist on this scam. A Georgia woman received a package that included several credit cards. She was instructed to use the cards to make purchases at WalMart, Target, Home Depot and the Apple store, then ship her purchases to an address on the west coast.
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8 Lies Mystery Shop Scammers Love to Tell

scammers-lieScammers lie. It’s what they do. Anyone who is willing to steal thousands of dollars from you has no problem telling a couple of lies.

Honest people tend to take what scammers say at face value. They believe them, because as honest people their first instinct isn’t to lie and cheat people. To protect yourself from scammers, you have to understand that everyone doesn’t think and act as you do, and you cannot assume that random strangers on the Internet are honest and have your best interests at heart.

Here are eight lies that mystery shop scammers tell:

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Mystery Shopping Basics


What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shoppers evaluate customer service, cleanliness and quality at all kinds of businesses. The mystery shopper reports are used by businesses to recognize star performers, determine training needs, monitor whether procedures are being followed, identify missed sales opportunities and even, in some cases, as one factor in determining raises and bonuses.Continue Reading

The FBI Says to Do Your Mystery Shop

fbi-agentA shopper called me recently and said she had been doing some mystery shops, but one of the assignments she received looked fishy. Well, if it looks like a fish and it smells like a fish, it is probably fishy.

This shopper (who asked that her name not be used) had received a check to do a mystery shop. She deposited the check and the money was in her account ready to be withdrawn and wired off, but she was having a bad feeling about it. She called to ask what I thought. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what I told her: SCAM! Continue Reading

Is This Any Way to Get a Mystery Shopper Job?

stupid-walmart-crookA lot of odd news stories involve Wal-Mart or Florida. This one has both, with mystery shopping as the cherry on top.

Last Sunday, a man walked into the Wal-Mart in Delray Beach, Florida, stole some clothes and put them on over his own clothes, then headed to the manager’s office. He grabbed a trash bag and started putting electronics and other items into the bag.

Because Wal-Mart is not down with the whole shoplifting thing, they called the police. When they searched him the police discovered that, in addition to the items in the trash bag, the man had a loaded gun and a variety of drugs, including heroin.

The best part? Continue Reading

What Are Your Mystery Shopping Goals?

Is mystery shopping just a hobby to you, or is it a business? If you shop now and then as a lark, then having and meeting goals may not be important to you. However, if you consider mystery shopping a business (even if it is part-time), then you should have goals for what you expect to accomplish.
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