General Question

ananda082001's avatar

Is there a legitimate source for info on becoming a Mystery Shopper?

Asked by ananda082001 (4points) July 31st, 2008

I’ve always been interested in being a Mystery Shopper, but I don’t trust the ads I’ve seen to be legitimate.

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Here is what the FTC reveals in a Consumer Alert called Secrets of Mystery Shopper Revealed.

Becoming a legitimate mystery shopper for a legitimate company doesn’t cost anything. Here’s how to do it:

* Search the Internet for mystery shopping companies that are accepting applications. Legitimate companies don’t charge an application fee. Many accept applications online.
* Do some homework about mystery shopping. Check libraries or bookstores for tips on how to find companies hiring mystery shoppers, as well as how to do the job effectively.
* Visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website at for information on how to register to be a mystery shopper with a MSPA-member company, a database of available jobs, and additional information on the industry in general.

In the meantime, the FTC says consumers should be skeptical of mystery shopping promoters who:

* Advertise for mystery shoppers in a newspaper’s ‘help wanted’ section or by email. While it may appear as if these companies are hiring mystery shoppers, it’s much more likely that they’re pitching unnecessary — and possibly bogus — mystery shopping “services.”
* Sell “certification.” Companies that use mystery shoppers generally do not require certification.
* Guarantee a job as a mystery shopper.
* Charge a fee for access to mystery shopping opportunities.
* Sell directories of companies that provide mystery shoppers.

If you think you have encountered a mystery shopping scam, file a complaint with your local consumer protection agency, the Better Business Bureau, your State Attorney General, or the FTC (

ananda082001's avatar

Wow, thanks! Especially for the links.

poofandmook's avatar

@Ananda: I tried this for a while.. it’s not as good as it sounds. Legitimate? Yes. Worth the effort? Rarely.

ananda082001's avatar

Awww..really? It sounds like such a fun way to make some extra money though, lol. Do you think how worth the effort it is depends on if you’re trying to do it for just a little extra pocket change, or as a primary job? And what about it made it not worth it for you?

poofandmook's avatar

Well, my friend does it and she always gets these really easy shops. Keep track of the Catalina Coupons you get when you check out after buying a can of soup. Count the number of boxes of Cheerios that are being displayed in the sale endcap. that sort of thing. I always got shops where I had to go ask all these crazy questions to the people at the Deli counter… buying a scale and weighing the meat and cheese on a sandwich, taking the temperature of a cup of coffee or a carton of milk… blah

Emilyy's avatar

Another option for “undercover” work that can earn you a little extra money on the side is becoming what’s known as a “tester” for fair housing groups. Basically you pose as a potential homeseeker in rental and homebuying transactions. You don’t have to give out any personal information or fill out any applications or anything—just interact with the agent and report back your experience. It’s similar to mystery shopping, but also can help make a big difference in your community in terms of undercovering discriminatory practices in housing. Most major cities have a fair housing council and an internet search should be able to find one for you easily. I work for a fair housing group in LA and we are ALWAYS looking for testers. Sorry for the shameless plug. You (or anyone else reading this) can PM me if you want more information.

ananda082001's avatar

@Poofandmook- Lol, so you get to be that “crazy customer” the clerks talk about after you leave. That kind of thing actually sounds pretty fun, lol.

@EmilyNathon- Hmm…I’ll have to check that out. I’m not anywhere near your area, but they might have something like that for my area.

poofandmook's avatar

@ananda: Sometimes though, the stipulation is that you don’t get paid if they figure out what you’re doing! And the questions that you have to ask are so totally insane, that it’s painfully obvious that you’re hired to do it! Crazy. And frankly, I’d rather eat the sandwich and drink the coffee than take its weight and temperature. LOL

ananda082001's avatar

Lol, true. I’ll have to research it, now that I’ve got some good links, and decide if it’s worth my time. Extra pocket money does sound nice though, lol.

poofandmook's avatar

@ananda: You may get lucky and get the good shops! You’ll never know if you don’t try. But don’t be disappointed if you get the crapola lol

ananda082001's avatar

@poof- Lol, I won’t. Like I said, I’m just looking for a little extra spending money and something to kill time, lol.

@flowerchild- Thanks for the link ^^

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