Mystery shopper scams continue to proliferate. Recently, I have been contacted by numerous readers who have received communications in regard to mystery shopping scams. Today’s version of the mystery shopper scam comes from my own email. Mystery shoppers are people hired to shop at a particular store and report on the shopping experience for purposes of quality control. Unlike many scams, there actually are legitimate mystery shopper companies, but they never advertise or recruit through emails, text messages or letters.
The manner in which the scam generally works is that when you answer an advertisement, or respond to a letter, email or a text message to become a mystery shopper, you are sent a bank check. You spend some of the money on the goods that you purchase which you are allowed to keep and also are directed to keep some of the balance of the check as payment for your services. You are generally instructed to return the remaining funds by a wire transfer. In a recent Walmart themed mystery shopper scam that targeted a Scamicide reader, the targeted victim was told to wire $1,225 of a $1,595 check back to the scammer. The problem is that the check or money order sent to you is counterfeit, but the money you send by wire from your bank account is real and is lost forever. Here is a copy of the email that I recently received.
“I am Rolf Gangdal Satisfactory Service Inc Recruitment Specialist. Satisfactory Service Inc is one of the leading agency specialized in Global Customer Service Research. We are starting a very big research project in USA. This project takes place every week, so we need to recruit Mystery Shoppers to work as a surveyor. We accept applications for qualified individuals (18+) to become mystery shoppers and merchandisers. You will get $250 to $300 on each assignment.
You will be assigned to visit a shop.
You need to act like a normal potential customer who is looking for a particular service or product.
You will then finish an on-line questionnaire to share with us your customer experience.
Most of the time you will only need to spend 20 minutes on the visit.
Payment : Cashier Check or Money Order
To register for this survey, Reply with the details below to process your application.
Full Address (No PO BOX):
State :
Zip Code :
Phone_Cell :
Gender_Age :
Thank you for the participation, We will contact you as soon as your application has been received.
Opinion Outpost
Research Drive
Shelton, CT 06484. U.S.A
Attn: Rolf Gangdal”
One reason why this scam fools so many people is that there really are mystery shopping jobs although the actual number is quite few and they do not go looking for you. An indication that you are involved with a scam is when you receive a check for more than what is owed you and you are asked to wire the difference back to the sender. This is the basis of many scams. Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on provisional credit which is given after a few days, but which will be rescinded once a check bounces and never accept a check for more than what is owed with the intention to send back the rest. That is always a scam. Also be wary whenever you are asked to wire funds or send gift cards because this is a common theme in many scams because it is difficult to trace and impossible to stop. Legitimate companies do not use gift cards as payments. This particular mystery shopper scam has a couple of red flags that indicate that it is a scam including the fact that my name is not used in a salutation or anywhere else in the email. Additionally, the email is sent from an email address that has no relation to the purported person or mystery shopper company, but is most likely merely the address of someone whose email address was hacked, stolen and used in a bot net to send out scam emails.
If you receive a mystery shopper scam solicitation or check through the mail you can report it to the United States Postal Service at
You also can report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which investigates these scams at
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