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Extra Money Zone – Another Site to Avoid April 11, 2012

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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I truly love the mystery shopping industry, but at the same time it makes me very tired. At least the part with scammers and less than stellar sites that claim to be in the industry….

Here is another one for you to watch for – Extramoneyzone.com. Their home page shows that you can make money mystery shopping, and encourages you to sign up for a membership. From what I can see, it is only $2.95 a month to have access to hundreds of jobs and learning tools to become a great shopper.

Here’s the kicker: at least some (probably more like all) of their jobs that are listed are not theirs nor are the companies aware that job postings are listed in this company’s “database.”

I became aware of this company recently with a client of ours forwarded me an email from someone who claimed to be a shopper. She had contacted the client directly looking for her “scheduler” since she did a shop and wanted to know how to submit it and be paid. I looked at the information and realized I had no idea who this company was (Extra Money Zone), and this person was not a registered shopper with us.

I ended up calling her directly to let her know that this was not a legitimate shop, nor will she be compensated in any way.¬† I was also curious about how she got to this point with the company. She was very confused and told me how it works….

She signed up with Extra Money Zone and noticed a shop that was in her area, and she replied and stated she was interested in it. The company contacted her and told her she could do the shop, and that “we” (Ann Michaels & Associates) would send her an email with the details. Of course she never got that email.

Since she was not at all familiar with mystery shopping, she wasn’t sure if this was par for the course or if something odd were going on. She called them again, explaining a shop was due soon, and she didn’t know what to do. They again stated that “we” sent them an email and they could see it in their system, but she somehow didn’t get it. They said to go ahead and do the shop anyway, even without the email from¬† “us” with all the information she may need if it were in fact a real shop.

Basically this company is gleaning shop information from us and other unsuspecting companies and making it seem as though we are “partners” with them somehow. I can’t imagine what information they were going to give her as her shop requirements, and would be very curious to see what ‘we’ were going to email her. They claim that their “executive team” finds jobs online and updates their site daily. Once you see a job you want, they put you in touch with the mystery shopping company, who then gives you the rest of the information. Okay, they are serving as the middleman of sorts – that’s not wrong really, but making it sound like us companies are okay with it is another thing.

After reviewing their site more closely, they appear to have other jobs that are more traditional as well as the mystery shops posted. They specifically state (in small font) that they are not a mystery shopping provider and do not employ shoppers. That’s all well and dandy, but clearly something is not right.

If you really want to get into the mystery shopping industry, there are several ways to find real shops with real companies without paying fees to get started:

1. Mystery Shopping Providers Associates (MSPA): this site has a forum for mystery shoppers, a job board, and a listing of legitimate mystery shopping companies.

2. Jobslinger: You can register for free and review job postings directly posted by the mystery shopping companies that have work. This is a great tool that is free and allows you to enter your zip code to see which companies have work in your area.

3. Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition (IMSC): a coalition geared toward mystery shoppers. Like them on Facebook to learn more about the industry and get helpful information to guide you through the industry.

4. Volition: perhaps the oldest mystery shopping board out there, this forum is a good read for those who are interested in mystery shopping or new to the industry.

Educating the public about our industry is one of our main goals; sharing information as we become aware of it will hopefully get more people to the mystery shopping world easily and legitimately. If you have other sites to be aware of, or your own experiences, please share!

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