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(including sample e-mail)

Mystery shopper scams are prevalent on the internet that you may not be totally aware of.

The e-mail below is something I received on October 22, 2009. It is very typical of many mystery shopper scams on the internet.

They list a legitimate mystery shop company and give some information about the company that is close enough to be true. They want you to feel comfortable with the fact that they won't be asking for your social security, your bank and credit card numbers. The scammers don't need that.

All they want to do is send you a BAD check for over $1000. You probably won't have a problem cashing it, but it will come back to you a week or so later. When that happens, you are responsible for the money.

What to look out for in mystery shopper scams

Here is what you need to look out for in mystery shopper scams:

1. A mystery shopping company is not going to ask for your information in an email. You fill out an application on their website and wait for them to give you a list of assignments you can apply for.

2. The grammar, punctuation and spelling in this email is atrocious. The line spacing is not consistent with the rest of the copy either.

3. A mystery shopping company will NEVER send you a check for services that have not been performed.

Let me repeat this one.


If you receive such a check in the mail, report it to authorities or destroy it. It will haunt you for a long time if you cash it.

This email was written exactly as I received it. I left the spacing between lines and characters intact. I did not list the name of the mystery shop company or the person it was from.

Many legitimate mystery shop companies face this scam often and these scammers frustrate them as well.

Here is the mystery shopper scam email that I received --

The subject line was listed in all capital letters. It screamed:


From: Joe Legitimate Person(serviceswanted@name of company, which was
Sent: Thu 10/22/09 5:00 PM

Name of company is the world's largest Mystery Shopping company. Established in 1994, we operate in over 50 countries with a global team of over 200,000 Mystery Shoppers.

We are a company that conduct surveys and evaluate other companies. We get hired to go to other peoples companies
and act like customers in order to know how the staffs are handling their services in relation to their customers.
once we have a contract to do so, you would be directed to the company or outlet, and you would be given the funds
you need to do the job (either purchase things or require services), after which you would write a comment on the
staffs activities and give a detailed record of your experience. Examples of details you would forward to us are:
1) How long it took you to get services.
2) Smartness of the attendant
3)Customer service professionalism
4)Sometimes you might be required to upset the attendant, to see how they react to clients why they get tensed.

And we turn the information over to the company executives and they would carry out their own duties in improving
there services. Most companies employ our assistance when people give complains about their services, or when they
feel there are needs for them to improve their customer service. your Identity would be kept confidential as the
job states (secret shopper)
Your job will be to evaluate and comment on customer service in a wide variety of shops, stores, restaurant and services in your area.
We understand that the confidentiality of your personal details is critical. For this reason our application process is completely secure.
No commitment is made on this job, and you would have flexible hours as it suits you. This is a part-time job and
it does not affect your Daily Activities/Job.

WE will communicate mostly through email which you have to reply swiftly within the time frame of 24 hours
Your response to this email is needed , so that we can reconfirm your mailing address details we have in our database.

For the next 4 weeks,We will be evaluating MONEY GRAM AGENT OUTLETS so as to know the efficiency of their customer
service. We will be updating you on when you will be getting the payment which will be in form of certified bank
CHECK ranging from ($1000-$5000) for the commencement of the mystery shopping,you will deduct 10% of the payment
for every outlet you survey and send the rest through the MONEY GRAM AGENT OUTLET to any of our mystery
shoppers in
the US and get back to us with the details of the efficiency at the MONEY GRAM

If you are interested do send in this information:


So we can look at your distance from the locations which you have to put your services into, and your address would also be needed for your payments.

N.B:Note: We will never ask you for anything more than that which we have stated above. No bank names, No bank account number, routing number, credit card, passwords, SSN# etc. If anyone asks for those on our behalf,please do not give out this infomation.This is to ensure your security and non involvement in cases of Identity theft.

Yours Sincerely
Joe Legitimate Person
Name of company Survey Public.Relations.Officer, LLC of

Mystery Shopper Scams

Believe it or not, an email like this works on some people.  The Better Business Bureau still lists Mystery Shopping Scams in the top 10 every year. 

Mystery shopping companies require proper English with correct spelling and punctuation.  No company would send anything written this bad. 

Mystery Shopper Scams

I still get emails in my in box that want you to send an email back with your personal information.  Don't do it.  This the most common of the mystery shopper scams.

There's more information about mystery shopping and mystery shopper scams from the Mystery Shopper Providers Association and from my book (and eBook) "Take That Job and Mystery Shop It!"

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