Don't fall for mystery shopper scams
Do people really make money being a mystery shopper? I get asked this question all the time.
Yes, they do, although you won't get rich doing it.
Unfortunately, a lot of people get ripped off by scammers who target folks who want to become mystery shoppers. Here's how to protect yourself:
Never respond to unsolicited email offers. That's not the way legitimate companies find mystery shoppers.
Don't pay a fee to sign up and get materials about being a mystery shopper. Remember: If you work for someone, they pay you.
Steer clear of anyone who wants to send a check to pay you in advance. They'll tell you to deposit the check, withdraw some of the money and send it off via money order, wire transfer or prepaid card.
They claim you're testing that money order company or the store selling the gift cards. What you're really doing is sending the crooks your money. And once that bogus check bounces, the bank is going remove that initial deposit from your account.
If a purchase is involved, the mystery shopper generally lays out the money and gets reimbursed for the expense. That can take a couple of months.