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Mystery Shopping & Craig’s List: Another Scam to be Careful of September 23, 2009

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Schedulers have utilized many message boards, forums, and similar sites to post for jobs – Craig’s list used to be one of those places. However, with more and more scams popping up, schedulers are shying away from using this site for job listings.

You may have heard of the Craig’s List scam in which fictitious people were posting for mystery shops that would pay up to $200 an evaluation. This is the newest scam we’ve become aware of thanks to an email from the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers Association):

At least one shopper has a new twist on how to scam a mystery shopping company. Here’s what she did:

  • Posted on CraigsList for a shop she was scheduled to conduct for a mystery shopping company
  • Obtained a shopper to complete the evaluation; the unsuspecting shopper then emailed the scammer the information on a copy of the MSC’s  form (provided by the scammer) and receipts for proof of purchase
  • Scammer then entered in the information and receipts into the MSC’s database system as her own shop and was paid
  • Individual who conducted the shop for scammer then contacted the Mystery Shopping Company for payment
  • Scammer has also obtained personal information using portions of Member’s website application, as well as their ICA.
  • Scammer informs the interested individuals who responded to her CraigsList posting she has now filled her open shop and in one case directed the individual to then sign up with the Company.
  • Scammer then sent an email to one of the Company’s schedulers saying she has referred these individuals and collected referral bonuses.

It’s crazy out there, which is why as an industry we have to be viligant and extra cautious. As a shopper, just remember one simple rule – if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…..

Whenever you come across what appears to be a new company, scheduler, or editor, do your research beforehand. This can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Until next time….happy shopping!

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