We’ve all seen those “Secret Shopper” ads over the web. You know, the ones that go on and on about the easy work, short hours and mountains of money just waiting for YOU! Maybe some of you have received e-mails promoting such jobs. The truth is that while some of these are fake, some of them are in fact real. So how do you identify the genuine versus the criminal?
First off, have you ever had to pay your employer to hire you? Let’s certainly hope not. Many of the scam artists out there will ask for a payment upfront, either for applying or for job-related materials to get you started. This should absolutely be your first hint. Even if the offer comes with a money-back guarantee you should disregard it. Chances are you won’t see your money again.
Here are some other tips on how not to become a victim of fraud:
- Don’t pay a company to hire you, even if it’s for ‘training materials’.
- Watch out for companies that ask you to pay for items upfront, at least for the first few small transactions until the company is able to prove that they will reimburse you.
- Look into their office locations, is there one near you that you can walk in to? Typically these scammers seem to be located in Canada so keep an eye out for that.
- Be wary of cashier’s checks, they are often fake.
- Contact your local consumer agency or Trade Commission and do your due diligence on companies that you might suspect of being fraudulent.
- Always listen to your gut, and as we always say: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
Have you been a mystery shopper for real, or scammed? Tell us your story.