Mystery Shopper Email Scam

woman-laptopThe mystery shopper email scam is still going strong. The most recent version forwarded to me by a secret shopper uses the name of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association in an attempt to make the email scam seem credible.

Here is the email the mystery shopper received:

Subj: Vacant Post for Mystery Shoppers

Mystery Shopping Providers Association is giving you a chance to get paid for shopping and dinning out. Mystery shoppers are Needed Throughout America . You’ll be paid to shop and dine out-plus,you can also get free meals,Free merchandise, Free services, Free Entertainment, Free travel and lots more, Great Pay, Fun Work, Flexible Schedules,No experience required.If you can shop-you are qualified! But you must be 18yrs and above.

This is a new Year, you can start earning free cash as our Shopper. We can assure you that is going to be fun and you will love it
kindly send us a reply to inquiry about the Job offer to the email below

We care and We share. We will be expecting to read from you

[Alleged Name of Slimy Scammer]
Admin Agent
© MSPA, 2009

There are a few clues that this is a scam.

First, the MSPA does not hire shoppers. They are an association of mystery shopping companies. Their members hire secret shoppers, but MSPA does not.

Most legitimate mystery shopping companies do not use free email services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo. Emails will come from addresses at their domains. Be suspicious of emails from free services. Most email scams use these free services, not email from the domain they claim is theirs. In this case, the mystery shopping scam is supposed to be from the MSPA, but the scammer is using Gmail and Hotmail.

The email is very badly written. The grammar, capitalization and punctuation are…awful. Another sign of a scam.

The secret shopper scam relies on at least some of the recipients believing it is legitimate, and responding. To that end, the email scam uses gimmicks to make the offer appear to be from a legitimate mystery shopping company. For example:

They claim to represent the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, a respected organization in the secret shopping industry. Other scams have used the names of legitimate mystery shopping companies. Do not take this at face value. Remember that if a scammer will steal thousands of dollars from you, they will lie about who they are.

The email closes with, “We care and We share.” What a lovely sentiment! This email scam must be from very nice people. I certainly feel I can trust them now. (Not!!) This is followed by the name of a person to make it appear real.

The email scammer even put a copyright notice at the bottom of the email, saying that the email copyright is held by MSPA.

Healthy skepticism is a good thing. Do not take emails at face value, and do not believe everything you read.

If you receive an email claiming to be from a legitimate mystery shopping company that raises any of the red flags listed here, look up the company online and find their real contact information. Contact them to verify that the request is from them before providing any information.

And do not assume that every mystery shopping company with a web site is legitimate. It is easy and cheap to put up a web site, and there is nothing to stop a scammer from setting up a nice looking site to fool you. See my earlier article for tips on spotting a mystery shopper scam site.



    The company I received a request to be a mystery shopper for was
    Little Secret Shopper. I don’t see any contact information. However I have not received a check! I would just initially like to become affiliated with a true genuine Secret Shopper company!
    HELP !!!

  2. Tiffany says

    I have been receiving several emails like the one below lately. As soon as I saw it I assumed it was a scam. But what I don’t understand is how are these people scamming you? They aren’t asking for banking info, just name and address. What do they do with this info? How do they scam you with it?

    We are a Specialized Agency in Customer Service Research.

    Job Descriptions :

    1. You will receive funds for the task.
    2. You will receive instructions for the task you via email in the location and details of the task.
    3. You must complete the task as quickly as possible and quietly.
    4. You will be asked to visit the business location for doing good business restaurants, shopping stores, etc.
    Your salary S250 /assignment.

    Show your continued interest in this position by sending your resume or the following information.

    1. Name :
    2. Physical A-ddress :
    3. Citys / states :
    4. Zip codes :
    5. Phone :
    6. Gender :
    7. Ages :

    Thank you for participation.

    • says

      Tiffany, read some of the posts in the Mystery Shopper Scam category on this site and you will see it explained in detail. In a nutshell, they mail a forged check to you, ask you to cash it and wire most of the money to someone. After you do, the check is discovered to be bogus and you have to pay back all of the money you wired. They have your money and you have nothing.

  3. Steve says

    I found this scam online. It originated on a website,there is a form you fill out. Never send money to strangers using money gram western union or any method other then direct bank transfer and never cash deposit. Direct bank transfer is traceable,money gram and western union isn’t.

    Good Day,
    shopping is a customer oriented platform that empowers consumer-facing businesses to spend more time fixing problems and less time finding them. Every day we pass judgments on the service we receive and this can affect what we think of the brand. For many retailers, they don’t always get first-hand accounts of how their service is delivered; this is where you as an evaluator fit in for the task.

    Our clients are looking to understand more about the service and experience their customers receive. They then use this information as part of their training and development programs. Mystery shopping is fun, rewarding, not too time consuming and the assignments are varied.

    We have a wide variety of assignments which range from going to the pub through to airline assignments and staying in hotels. It’s like getting paid for fun oriented exercise. Ultimately, you will help to improve customer service experiences for everyone.

    Basics to prepare you for the task;

    Ability to Remain Anonymous:

    When performing an assignment, you must not reveal yourself as a mystery shopper unless you are instructed to. You can take the assignment guidance notes with you, but make sure they will not be visible to the employees. If you need to make notes, please do it in invisible places such as toilets or inside your car.


    Shoppers are required to be reliable and self-disciplined. Assignments must be completed within the specified period. The report must be completed within 24 hours of the visit. If you are unable to carry out an assignment due to an unexpected circumstance, please email or text immediately and do not wait until the last minute. I-MSTY SHOPPER reserves the right to reassign any late assignment without further notice.

    Objectivity, Honesty and Professionalism:

    You must provide honest opinions on the shopper reports and all answers must be objective and professional. Under no circumstances should offensive answers be given on reports. Please remember, your report will be read from the location you visit and used as part of their training and development programs.


    Reports must be completed in detail using full English grammar and please spell check your answers before submitting them. Please read the questions carefully and make sure there are no contradicting answers in your report. You’ll receive an email or text informing you about the task as soon as you’re assigned to conduct the survey.

    Kindly confirm again your name in full, contact address, & cell #;your age and occupation Status, to prevent missing mail. You’ll receive a subsequent email once the task is on the way. Have a great week.
    HR, Personnel
    David Higgins
    ©2016 Mystery Shoppers, Inc.
    National Shopping
    Service Network IncThe

    • says

      Steve, it isn’t a good idea to send money to strangers using direct bank transfer, either. It might be traceable, but that doesn’t mean you will get any money back if you get scammed. I don’t send money to random people I encounter on the Internet. Ever. For anything.

      Thanks for sharing this scammer info. They are out there, doing this every day.

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