In this economy, everyone is looking for any way to make money to help support themselves and their families, and you may be tempted by promises of high income. Often these offers or promises are made through advertisements for work at home or “mystery shopping” opportunities. Unfortunately, some of the offers out there may end up costing you money instead of helping you earn it.
While it is true that businesses nationwide use mystery shopping — also known as secret shopping, performance evaluations, service monitoring and quality auditing -as a means to monitor service quality, some individuals may use the promise of “easy money” through this type of job opportunity to take money from unsuspecting consumers.
Your Better Business Bureau advises applicants to carefully research any “mystery shopper” business and understand whether the company is offering to employ you directly. If you are asked instead to purchase training materials or a directory of companies that supposedly offer mystery-shopping opportunities, exercise caution.
Your BBB offers these additional tips to keep in mind when researching a mystery shopping opportunity:
1. Look for reputable firms that qualify and train mystery shoppers to perform specific evaluations; enjoy a good reputation with their clients and shoppers, and do not charge a fee to complete an application.
2. Ignore claims that you will make big profits easily. Mystery shopping probably will not make you rich; at best it may provide part-time income.
3. Avoid falling for claims that “guarantee” a position, without training.
4. Be cautions of unsolicited e-mails offering “work-from-home.”
5. Never pay money up-front. You should not have to pay for materials, training or recruiting.