Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mystery Shopping Tips - How to Avoid Scams!

USA Freebie Finders Wondering About That Mystery Shopping Opportunity? Read This!

Mystery shopping jobs that turn out to be scams are frequently highlighted in the news.
How can you know if a mystery shopping job is on the up and up?
This post has a few tips on how you can avoid getting scammed and how you can find real legitimate mystery shopping jobs so you can get freebies and money in return for your completing reports.
FTC Disclosure: This blog contains referral links that pay me a few cents when you shop through them.Thank you. Every penny helps.
I just ran across this book: Paid to Shop - The Secrets of Mystery Shopping Exposed by Deedee Moore at only $1.99  this ebook may be worth a look. The cover makes it seem aimed at American Mystery Shoppers as it has American Money on the front cover.
image Mystery Shopping eBook Deal 1.99 secrets of Mystery Shopping Revealed
Retail Price: $2.99
You Save: $1.00
So what exactly is Mystery Shopping?

How do you find real mystery shops?

Mystery Shopping - What is It?

Mystery Shoppers or evaluators are contract workers hired by franchises to make sure their branches are being run according to their expectations of customer service, cleanliness, and accuracy. If you ever completed a survey from a receipt to get a freebie, you were doing a form of mystery shopping.
Mystery Shopping however, usually requires more detailed reports, and often photographs.
Mystery Shopping rarely is a full time job, but it can help pay for gas, groceries, shoes, eyeglasses and more.
Since Mystery Shopping is contract work, you are self- employed and may be able to claim some expenses for your work. For example, a portion of your heat, hydro, rent, internet, gas, vehicle repairs, and so on may be claimed depending on the laws of your state.. Keep all your receipts and take them to a tax expert.
Many mystery shopping assignments require you pass unobserved, and make a purchase, but there are some that are only website critiques, observations or phone calls. Frequently, mystery shops reimburse you for a small purchase, and some pay you for your reports. Occasionally , in remote areas, you can be reimbursed for mileage too.
When you are just starting out, companies are not familiar with your abilities,  so you will only be able to apply for simple tasks. Once you complete more training modules on their websites and hand in excellent grammatically correct reports, you will be able to apply for higher paying jobs. Many companies will assign you grades based on your grammar and spelling. I find using The World's Best Grammar Checker is a huge help!
Eventually, if your grades are good enough, you may even receive phone calls from schedulers  before shops are posted online. The highest ranking shoppers are sometimes recruited for work from home positions with mystery shopping companies.
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Mystery Shopping Scam Alerts

How do you know something is a Mystery Shopping scam?
A Mystery Shopping company will NEVER send you payment in advance.
You will NEVER be sent money in advance for a mystery shop. This is one BIG tip off that you are being targeted by a scammer.
You also do not need to pay for Mystery Shopping company information. You can search the internet for this information,
Paying for a list of Mystery Shopping Companies or a book about mystery shopping with tips for beginners is not a scam, because they are saving you endless hours searching the internet for Mystery Shopping Companies and may provide you with useful tools such as spreadsheets to keep track of your mystery shop applications.
Many mystery shopping companies send out email notices on a daily basis about shops that are available in your area, while others require you to login on their site.
If you sign up for Mystery Shopping Alerts from a company offering Bronze, Silver and Gold notification levels at different prices this is not a Mystery Shopping Company, but a company just passing on the information they have received. While this is not a scam, because they are providing a service. I think this is poor value for your money. The Bronze or free level may only gets notifications after  jobs have already been assigned and I believe you will receive notifications faster directly from the mystery shopping companies.

Finding Valid Mystery Shops

How can you find valid Mystery Shopping Companies?
Just remember - a Mystery shopping company will not pay you in advance!

Mystery Shopping- Tools for Success

For most mystery shopping you will need:
  • Access to the Internet - this can even be at the library
  • Great Observational Skills
  • Super spelling and grammar. I highly recommend Grammarly - The World's Best Grammar Checker They even have a free option you can try.
  • Note pad
  • Pencil
More and more mystery shopping assignments require:
  • Camera or Cell phone that takes pictures that can be uploaded online.
  • Access to a printer.
  • Access to a scanner.
  • Debit Card - some require credit cards.
  • Access to a vehicle.
Other handy tools:

Mystery Shopping - Getting Paid

Many mystery Shopping companies pay through PayPal, while others pay by direct deposit into your bank account, and still others pay by check.
Most Mystery Shopping Companies pay after they get paid by the client, so your check will not arrive from many companies for about a month. Do not take on shops that require a purchase if you don't have the money in your budget.

Mystery Shopping - Random Last Minute Pointers

If possible, do shops early in day when you  going to a location in the area. Make detailed notes including colors and sizes of trash items even if it is not required.  You may wish to privately take photos of change rooms and washrooms to back up your reports. If you can get a spy cam like this pen camera,it can be useful.
Save your notes!
Companies may request clarification - especially of negative items up to six months later.
If you will not have access to the internet until late at night, notify the scheduler about this and ask for an extension, so you will be able to hand in your best work - when you are wide awake. If possible, upload your receipts and photos ASAP, then fill in the rest of your report. This shows the scheduler you have completed the shop and helps keep evidence from getting lost.
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We hope our south of the border family and friends will find these tips handy for stretching their budgets.
Want to know more about Mystery Shopping?
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