Legitimate mystery shopping companies, including us here at ACE Mystery Shopping, work hard to provide quality service to our shoppers and clients. However, some unscrupulous individuals continue to use mystery shopping as a disguise for scams. We want to make sure everyone can identify these scams immediately.
FACT: No legitimate mystery shopping company should charge you a fee to sign-up or become a member.
Any advertisement or posting that encourages you to sign-up as a mystery shopper but charges a fee is a SCAM. We do NOT charge shoppers to sign-up or to conduct shops. We PAY YOU for your services, not the other way around.
Some companies will attempt to disguise themselves as legitimate, and may even make assurances that they are NOT a scam, but then prompt you to pay a fee to become a shopper. Here is a screenshot from one such SCAM:
Again, signing up with ACE Mystery Shopping is ALWAYS FREE. WE DO NOT CHARGE YOU ANYTHING to sign-up and view all available shops.
FACT: We pay shoppers after a shop is completed.
Any person or group that offers to send you a check/money order for mystery shopping BEFORE you complete a shop is a SCAM. Most of the time, these people will send a check/money order in a LARGE sum and provide detailed directions on how to cash it. One shopper forwarded such a fraudulent check to us today.
They will then direct you to send a portion of it back, and tell you to keep the rest for your efforts. These checks will then BOUNCE, leaving you on the hook for a large sum of money. Here at ACE, we pay shoppers on or around the 15th of the month following your completed shop(s). We also have a detailed blog post describing our payment process.
FACT: We do not send out unsolicited emails.
We only send emails to shoppers who are registered with us. Every email we send comes directly from one of us here at ACE, and will ALWAYS have @acemysteryshopping.com as the sender’s domain. Check the email address of any email you receive from someone claiming to be with a mystery shopping company. Scammers will use generic e-mail domains (@gmail.com, @live.com) or fake email domains in their communication. Our contact information is clearly listed on our website, and we are available by phone, email, and live chat to answer your questions.
We hope that these facts will make scams easier to spot. However, scammers are constantly evolving and developing new techniques to attempt to fool honest, hardworking shoppers. If you receive a solicitation or believe someone is attempting a mystery shopping scam, please contact the FTC and your state’s attorney general. The Federal Trade Commission also has a brief discussion on current shopper scams, which you can view HERE. We are a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, which has a strict code of standards and ethics that we abide by to provide our shoppers and clients with the best possible service.