May I Say What Mystery Shopping Companies I Have Shopped For?

Question from a mystery shopper:
Several companies I applied to for mystery shops asked for the names of other mystery shopping companies I have worked with. Is this information something I should provide to the new company or is this considered a breach of confidentiality?

First of all, I am glad that you are thinking about confidentiality. Too many shoppers share information inappropriately, either believing that it is okay to do so or because they are just not thinking.

Let’s take a quick look at what you may and may not disclose, and I will share with you how I answer that question.
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Nosy Questions on Mystery Shopper Applications

nosy-questionsNote: I am not an attorney and this should not be considered legal advice.

Registering to be a mystery shopper is much different from applying for a job. Because of anti-discrimination laws, most employers will not ask questions about an applicant’s gender, age, race, marital status and other issues. However, you will often find these types of questions and others when you register with a mystery shopping company.

Can they do that?

Short answer: Yes, they can.

Legally, Independent Contractors (IC) are treated much differently than employees. However, even employers can ask applicants some of these questions, if there is a job-related necessity for it. The explanation of why mystery shopping providers may need this information, and why you should not be angry or offended by these questions, is below.Continue Reading

Do You Have Airport Security Clearance?

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
A mystery shopper recently asked:

I was signing up with a mystery shopping site and one of the questions asked on the application was, “Do you have airport security clearance?” My first thought was, “What do they want me to take on a plane that would require my having personal security clearance?”

Is this question typical? Why would a mystery shopping company want to know if I have airport security clearance? Should I just ignore that site and go on to the next?

The question is not on every application, but some mystery shopping companies have a legitimate reason for asking. No, they are not going to have you take anything on a plane. In fact, you don’t have to get on a plane to handle the assignments. The reason they ask is simple:Continue Reading

Keep Your Secret Shopper Profiles Up to Date

Each time you apply to a mystery shopping company, you fill out a shopper profile. The profile includes your contact information, demographic information about you (e.g., birthdate, gender, marital status, etc.) as well as specific things the mystery shopping company needs to match you to client requirements. These questions might include the ages of your children, if you own a digital camera or voice recorder, if you wear glasses, etc. Of course, MSPA member companies will want to know your MSPA certification status.

The information in your profile may be used to determine whether or not you receive a particular shop offer, so it is important that it is current and correct. Make sure you update your profile when:Continue Reading

Mystery Shopper Companies – How to Find Them

I hear from a lot of people who want to become mystery shoppers, but say they do not know how to find secret shopper companies that do not charge.

They are on the right track knowing that they should not pay to sign up with a company. Legitimate mystery shopping companies do not charge you to register.

The companies that charge may be providing a service (which you do not need) or they may just be out-and-out scams. In either case, you should never pay a fee to any company claiming to offer mystery shopper jobs.

So how can you find the legitimate mystery shopper companies that do not charge?
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Mystery Shopping and Your Resume

mystery-shopper-resumeLots of people are looking for work these days. If you are unemployed and looking for a job, or thinking about changing jobs, you need a good resume. Should you include your mystery shopping work on a resume? And if so, how should you list mystery shopper jobs?

There isn’t just one answer, so let’s take a look at a few possible scenarios.

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Mystery Shopping Sites – Which Ones Should I Join?

mystery-shopping-sitesQuestion from a secret shopper:

I want to become a mystery shopper. When I search for information, I get a lot of sites that want me to join. Some of them seem to offer free mystery shops, but others charge a monthly fee. Before I start running up a bunch of charges, I need to know if I can make money as a mystery shopper, and which site I should join. Do I need to join more than one? Help!

First of all, yes, you can make money as a mystery shopper. But you do not need to pay anyone to become a mystery shopper or get mystery shopper jobs. Legitimate mystery shopping companies will not charge you to apply to them.Continue Reading

The Best Mystery Shopping Company

starsI have a list of 200 legitimate mystery shopping companies on my web site, and I get calls and emails all the time from new shoppers who want me to tell them which mystery shopping company is best. “I don’t want to apply to all of those companies. Can’t you just give me the names of a few companies that are best?”

Well, no, I can’t. The companies that I think are the best might be useless to you. Here are some of the things to consider when deciding which mystery shopping companies are the best for you.Continue Reading

How Many Mystery Shopper Applications are Enough?

mystery-shopper-applying-onlineThere are hundreds of legitimate mystery shopping companies—do you need to apply to all of them? Half of them? A few of them? How many companies do you need to work with?

First of all, only apply to legitimate mystery shopping companies. That means you should not apply to companies that charge you a fee or require you to sign up for “offers.” Refer to this list of nearly 200 legitimate mystery shopping companies:

I recommend that secret shoppers sign up with as many companies as they can. You never know which company will come through with the most assignments for you, or even that dream assignment to mystery shop a resort or spa.

But your time is limited, right? So when do you stop applying and start mystery shopping? Continue Reading