Don’t be a Victim of Common Mystery Shopping Scams

Mystery shopping has long been used for market/customer experience research. Unfortunately, there are as many consumer scams as there are legitimate market research companies. Therefore, consumers who are interested in mystery shopping are advised to thoroughly research any company contacting them to perform mystery shops.

Tips for Avoiding Scams

  • Be wary of any company which requires you to pay to be a mystery shopper.
  • Be wary of any market research company that claims to pay in advance of shop completion.
  • Be wary of any mystery shopping assignment with a large reward or cash payment. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Do not trust unsolicited emails or social media messages if you did not already directly sign up with a legitimate market research company; and do not trust emails that are not originating from a real company email account, i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
  • Do not deposit paper checks into your personal bank account and then wire funds elsewhere and/or purchase gift cards to be forwarded, as this is a common mystery shopping scam.
  • Take the time to thoroughly research any market research company you might wish to work with because scammers will often spoof popular mystery shopping company names. Always contact the company directly by doing a web search or searching the MSPA industry trade association website: .

IntelliShop’s Practices

  • IntelliShop ONLY pays evaluators through PayPal.
  • IntelliShop NEVER offers assignments that require check deposits or the purchase and forwarding of gift cards.
  • IntelliShop NEVER assigns jobs to evaluators who have not applied through our official websites
  • Intellishop ONLY pays evaluators after assignments are completed NOT before.
  • For additional information on legitimate mystery shopping companies, visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website at

What to do if you are a victim of a consumer scam?

  • File a report with your local police department. As many consumer scams are considered a federal offense, we recommend that you also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission:
  • If you are the victim of mail fraud, i.e. you received a fake check in the mail, file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by calling 1-877-876-2455, then press option “4” or say “Fraud.” You can also make a report on-line by visiting:
  • If the scam originated on-line, i.e. you were contacted through social media, please also file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
  • Lastly, if you want to warn others about the scam, please consider filing a complaint with the National Consumers League:


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