Celebrate Safer Internet Day

February 11 is Safer Internet Day, but adopting a few simple practices can make every day Safer Internet Day.

Being safer on the Internet includes avoiding scams and keeping your data safe and secure when online. This article gives you some simple ways to stay safer.Continue Reading

Too Much Mystery Shopper Email?

too-much-emailSecret shoppers who are registered with several mystery shopping companies may get dozens to hundreds of job offer emails every day. The flood of email can seem overwhelming.

How can you deal with all of the email, while still having time to mystery shop and have a life?

One good first step is to have an email account that you use exclusively for registering with secret shopping companies. This way you can deal with you shopper emails separately from others. You might consider setting up an account with Gmail or another free service for this.

Be sure to associate this email account with your PayPal account, so that payments from mystery shopping companies reach you. Also, if you have an MSPA shopper certification, you will need to get a new certification code. Your certification code is tied to your email address, so when your email address changes a new code is required. Continue Reading

Should Mystery Shoppers Be on Facebook?

Many mystery shopping companies have Facebook pages and they encourage shoppers to “like” their pages and interact with them on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Is this a good idea, or is going social with the fact that you are a mystery shopper likely to result in you being identified as a mystery shopper during a shop?

Consider that there are about half a billion people on Facebook. It is extremely unlikely that an employee that you are about to mystery shop will happen to run across your profile and will remember and recognize you when you shop them. Of course, it is not impossible.
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How to Avoid Spam

In a previous article I shared some of the hazards of using a challenge/response system to keep spam out of your inbox. Let’s look at some things you can do that will reduce or eliminate spam without the problems of challenge/response.

Don’t post your email address publicly in forums or on your website. Spammers use software to harvest email addresses from the web, and posting your email address on a public website guarantees that you will get more spam.

Be careful where you share your address. Before you give your email address at a website, make sure that you are on the site you think you are on. Some sites look deceptively similar to others. Then, look for signs that the site will not give or sell your address to anyone else. Each of my websites has a privacy policy that says I will use your email address to send what you have requested (e.g., an email course, newsletters and updates, or receipts and other information related to purchases). I don’t send other emails and I don’t share email addresses with any other person or company.

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Resolve to Do the One Thing That Can Save You From Almost Any Computer Disaster

What would happen to your mystery shopping career if you lost all of the data on your computer? Without your email, shop records, photos and scans from mystery shops, income and expense data and other important files, you would be in a bind. As you make New Year’s resolutions, this is a good time to take the advice of my friend Leo, and make a resolution to protect yourself from a computer disaster.

This is a guest post by Leo Notenboom of Ask Leo!

If I told you that there was one fairly simple thing you could do, that once set up you’d rarely even have to think about it and that it could save you from almost any computer related disaster, would you be interested?Continue Reading

The Email Mistake That Costs You Mystery Shopper Jobs

Nobody likes spam emails, but something you may be doing to avoid spam can also keep those all-important mystery shopper job offers out of your inbox. I am talking about using a challenge/response anti-spam program.

Here is how it works: You sign up for a service such as Spam Arrest that uses a challenge/response system. Whenever someone sends you an email for the first time after you begin using the system, the email is not delivered to you. Instead, the sender receives an email saying that they have to click on a link, go to a website and enter a code. Only then will the email reach your inbox. If the email sender does not confirm by clicking on the link and entering the code, the email never gets to you.

Sounds great. The spammers won’t take the time to do this, so you don’t get any more spam. The problem is that Continue Reading

Stay Safe Online – 7 + 1 Steps to Internet Safety and Security For Your PC

Most mystery shoppers spend a lot of time online. We all know that there are dangers on the Internet, but it is possible to keep yourself safe. In this post, my friend Leo Notenboom explains some simple things you can do to avoid online security threats.

This is a guest post by Leo Notenboom of Ask Leo!

Internet safety seems like an oxymoron these days with all the threats aimed at our computers. Staying safe online doesn’t have to be difficult, and this article covers the basic steps that every computer user should take. The phrase “Internet Safety” often seems like an oxymoron. Every day we hear of new threats aimed at our internet connected personal computers which seems to just make it that much harder to actually stay safe while connected online.
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Managing Mystery Shopper Emails

Mystery shoppers may get dozens, or even hundreds, of daily emails about mystery shopper jobs. How can you handle the flood of email without spending all day at the computer?

A good first step is to set up an email address that is dedicated to mystery shopping. Use that address whenever you apply to a secret shopping company. By keeping shopper emails separate from the rest of your emails you can manage them more easily.
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Zapiddy – An App That Pays You While You Shop

UPDATE: Zapiddy is no longer in business. At this time, Field Agent (mentioned below) is still available.

A while back I let you know about Field Agent, a smart phone app that connects you with paying assignments in market research. Now there is another: Zapiddy lets you make money with your smart phone while you shop. For every job you complete, you get paid and Zapiddy donates money to the Children’s Miracle Network.

For now the app is only available for the iPhone. Just download the free app from the app store, then set up an account. You can look for jobs through the app. You may be asked to answer a few questions, do a price check, or take a photo of a product in a store. Many jobs are location-based, and require that you have the GPS function enabled on your phone.

Jobs typically pay between $2 and $10. Although it may not be worthwhile to make a special trip to do a job, if you can squeeze in one or two between mystery shops or while you are running other errands, it could be a way to make a few bucks without a lot of extra work. On the “good karma” side, every time you do a job Zapiddy also makes a donation to your local Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

Field Agent – The iPhone App That Pays You

Subscribers to my free Mystery Shopping Tips newsletter learned about Field Agent three weeks ago. Sign up for the Free Mystery Shopper Course in the box on the left and you will get a free seven-lesson course on mystery shopping, plus ongoing tips, industry news and newsletter exclusives. Get your free subscription today!

Do you have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? Want to use it to make extra money? The free Field Agent app can help you do just that.

Field Agent offers small market research jobs, such as price checks, short surveys and other jobs and pays you (in cash, not points or contest entries) for completing them. Some jobs can be completed from home, while others involve going to a store (such as WalMart) to check a display or demo, answer a few questions or perhaps snap and upload a photo.Continue Reading