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Mystery Shopper Offers Still A Problem

Mystery Shopper Offers Still A Problem - The Beacon


By: Tom

Mystery Shopper Offers Still A Problem

This past week I received a call regarding a mystery shopper offer.  The caller said that they had received a money order in the amount of more than $900.00, and they were concerned that the offer wasn’t sincere.  They deposited the money order into their checking account waiting to see if the money order cleared before taking any action.  We weren’t able to locate the business, first they didn’t use a business name, and second, the phone our caller provided wasn’t listed in the BBB database.

I was then told that they were to wire part of the proceeds via Western Union, and then report on their experience evaluating Western Union’s customer service.

With this information, we were able to explain that these offers have been around for a number of years, and that if they had done as the person making the offer of employment instructed and cashed the money order immediately, they would be out the $900.00, and they would have to repay the bank.

Thankfully, our caller didn’t lose any money, and I was able to tell them that these offers of “work-at-home schemes” only make money for the perpetrator of the fraud.

It used to be that these offers were advertised in newspapers, magazines, and other high traffic areas.  The consumer was informed that to become a mystery shopper, you had to send a payment of varying amounts to show your level of interest in obtaining the position.  The BBB offered advice regarding these offers by stating that these offers may not be a sincere offer of employment.  The BBB’s experience with such offers showed that there was no real work, and that consumers who sent payments never received anything. If surveys had to be completed prior to payment, the mystery shopping “firm” would inform consumers that their surveys didn’t meet the standards which would qualify for payments.  BBBs offered other advice such as contacting large department stores or marketing research companies that may offer positions as a mystery shopper.

In the digital age, these offers are found online and through unsolicited e-mails.  Now these offers that come through the mail have either fraudulent checks or money orders which consumers are told to cash immediately then spend the money, and provide information as to their shopping experience.  Your BBB advises skepticism regarding any such offer that has a check or money order attached.  If you receive an offer to be a mystery shopper, and you’re really not certain about the sincerity of the offer, then contact your local BBB or visit our website

For more information you can trust regarding other work-at-home offers, visit or call our office at (812) 473-0202 or toll-free (800) 359-0979.

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Tom is Vice President for the Tri-State Better Business Bureau. In addition to answering the needs of our accredited businesses, Tom can be seen on WEVV providing tips for businesses and consumers. He also works closely with other local media outlets to keep our community informed of marketplace issues affecting our area.