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How to Tell if a Mystery Shopper Job is a Scam

Updated on September 5, 2012
Shoppers during the holiday season
Shoppers during the holiday season | Source

Have you ever received an email promising big bucks for mystery shopping? Have you wondered how much money you can make being a secret shopper? While there is work out there as a secret shopper, you might have been misled about this popular opportunity. This article will outline the plain, hard facts about getting paid for mystery shopping.

Secret Shopper Facts

The Truth About Finding Work

There are many, many people out there looking for work that is fun and offers flexible hours. The truth is, you are never going to receive an email asking you to work as a secret shopper. If you receive an email promising big bucks for secret shopper work, it is almost always a scam. In order to find legitimate work as a mystery shopper, you must look for it. There are many websites that post available secret shopper work for approved workers, and other companies keep a pool of workers to call on when work is available. In rare cases, you can find work directly for a large company as a secret shopper. A great place to find legitimate secret shopper work is at a website called, which links to many legit opportunities for which you can apply.

The Truth About Pay

Yes, the emails that promise hundreds of dollars per shopping trip are a scam. Legitimate mystery shopping work is, unfortunately, typically low paying. You can expect to earn an average of $5-15 per assignment. Some companies will only provide a purchase reimbursement as pay. If you want to make a decent income from mystery shopping, you must work with several companies to get enough assignments, and you must schedule and plan carefully.

The Bottom Line

While you can make some decent cash as a mystery shopper, it is hard work for low pay. You may also find that it is difficult to get jobs and get your foot in the door with companies that have a large pool of workers. With some patience and dedication, you can earn by secret shopping.


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