What can the MSPA or we do about Shadow Shopper?

Shadow Shopper is a portal for scammers. The site allows anyone to access and market to registered users. They copy (then hide information) from publicly available shops from sites like Jobslinger, pretend to represent the MSCs, charging money to view the complete job descriptions.

revised the subject line 12/18

Mod note: Removed scam from the subject line

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/2015 04:05AM by isaiah58.

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If they are a member of MSPA, then I suspect that the answer is that they pay their annual dues. If they aren't a member, then the answer is obvious.
@isaiah58 wrote:

Shadow Shoppers is a portal for scammers. The site allows anyone to access and market to registered users. They copy (then hide information) from publicly available shops from sites like Jobslinger, pretend to represent the MSCs, charging money to view the complete job descriptions.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Please explain how the answer is obvious?

What's the purpose of MSPA if they do not protect the integrity of the industry?

Members do not "buy" integrity. Non members are not immune from being challenged.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
@isaiah58 wrote:

Please explain how the answer is obvious?

What's the purpose of MSPA if they do not protect the integrity of the industry?

Members do not "buy" integrity. Non members are not immune from being challenged.

The purpose of MSPA is not to protect shoppers. MSPA is an organization of mystery shopping companies. Their primary purpose is not to protect the integrity of the industry. They are a private club of MSCs and they act to protect their own interests in the industry. Although there is some talk about ensuring high ethical standards, etc., the MSPA actually has no authority to make rules or enforce anything. And, as we have seen in the past, MSPA has no way to make a member company pay shoppers on time, OR pay them AT ALL. If Shadow Shopper is a member, there may be some discussion among the member companies if multiple shoppers file complaints with MSPA. If Shadow Shopper is NOT a member, then MSPA has no authority whatsoever over that company. That's why the answer is obvious.
@AustinMom wrote:

And, as we have seen in the past, MSPA has no way to make a member company pay shoppers on time, OR pay them AT ALL.
@ wrote:

And, I would add, no INTEREST in making a member company pay shoppers. They're getting theirs.

Now scheduling travel shops for the day after Christmas through mid-January.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/17/2015 03:22AM by PasswordNotFound.
@PasswordNotFound wrote:

And, I would add, no INTEREST in making a member company pay shoppers. They're getting theirs.

Of course they have an interest in making sure shoppers are paid according to the terms of their ICAs. If an MSC gets a reputation of being an unreliable or dishonest company, shoppers will talk to each other about it (prominently via this forum) and most of us will avoid that company. If an MSC has no shoppers that are willing to take jobs for it, it goes belly up and the MSPA doesn't get its membership dues.

I'm a little tired of everyone acting like the MSCs or the MSPA are purely out to screw us over. I don't specifcally mean you, Password, it's just a prominent theme in so many of the threads I read. Do people really find it that much fun to pretend they're a victim?

"The future ain't what it used to be." --Yogi Berra
Hmmm, so Shadow Shopper steals the MSCs job postings; they omit the MSCs info and other key details. They imply that the MSCs are desperate for shoppers, and for a monthly fee members can have access to see the MSC and the missing key information. Even though anyone can use Jobslinger or the other free services where the original information is being copied from? And two members here are saying the main association that unites the MSCs should not care about this, be concerned in any way, and not have any implied responsibility to protect their industry from this???

Shadow Shopper is also allowing the scammers, the ones almost every MSC has warnings about on their websites, to market registered users. But we are saying this is not something the MSPA should be concerned about!? Really?

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Check that link, scanman. It triggered an alert for me.

Now scheduling travel shops for the day after Christmas through mid-January.
@PasswordNotFound wrote:

Check that link, scanman. It triggered an alert for me.

It's Mother Jones. This is a tax deductible non profit news source. It is mostly left leaning political site with some good stories thrown in every now and then.

What anti virus false alerted it as a bad site?

It has a post comment engine by Disqus (harmless) at the bottom of the page. No 3rd party banner ads and no Javascript. As a non profit, they do not have 3rd party links for ad revenue.
Isaiah, you should direct your questions to the MSPA as to why they don't do something about Shadow Shopper. I'm curious as to what you think they should/could do. My best guess is that since Shadow Shopper does not appear to be doing anything illegal they will say it does not come within their area of concern.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/17/2015 04:13PM by MDavisnowell.
If the MSCs have no problem with this platform, based on asking people to pay to see the opportunities those same MSCs freely make available to prospective shoppers, then I'm not sure how the MSPA logo lends any credence or value for their members. The MSCs should be protecting their industry, through their own means and through their Association. Otherwise the Association is a farce.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
I think they're more worried about protecting their own interests than protecting would-be (and sometimes gullible) shoppers. This is not about protecting the industry, it's about protecting shoppers and I don't see the MSPA caring about that too much.
MSPA is mainly their lobbying arm, from what I have seen. They send teams of members to visit Members of Congress and state legislators to lobby for MSP friendly legislation and regulations. Their really big fear seems to be that Congress or the Department of Labor will investigate how they treat and compensate their editors and schedulers. They are very fearful that those folks will be found to actually not be ICs. To this end, they constantly ask their members to contact all of the shoppers asking shoppers to write to Congress to oppose any reforms in laws or regulations concerning IC status. They would like us to believe that it is shoppers who might be "turned into" employees so that we will help them keep editors and schedulers in IC status. We shoppers are treated as ICs; many MSPs treat the editors and schedulers like employees but claim them/pay them as ICs.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Isaiah, why do you have such a problem with a business gathering information that is otherwise available for free and offering to sell it for a fee? It's not much different from a person writing a "how to" book and charging $20.00 plus shipping.

Is it a legal issue for you or is it a moral issue for you? I truly don't think there's a law against it but I'm waiting for someone to show me I'm wrong. As to thinking it might be a moral issue, morals are subjective and yours won't be mine and vice versa.

You don't have to pay Shadow Shopper for any information. You can mine it yourself elsewhere if you prefer. What are they doing "wrong", and why do you think anyone including MSPA should do anything about it? Shadow Shopper is, after all, gathering and selling information which is the same thing you and I are doing. Isn't it?

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I prefer to gather my information myself for free lol. Anyway, from what I gather, Shadow Shopper is nothing more than charging money for something that anyone with a little research can get for free. You can look at you are paying them to do the research for you kind of like you pay a lawyer to write up a will even though there are free fill-in wills on the internet. Even though they should be watching their message boards closer to monitor for obvious scams, are they legally required to do so (any more than Craigslist monitors theirs)?

Shopping across Indiana but mostly around Indianapolis.
Isaiah, I'm not promoting Shadow Shopper in any way, but I don't quite understand your vehement postings against it. The site itself isn't a scam. As I agreed in another thread, yes, It's foolish to pay money to see MS opportunities that we can find through free venues. But people pay money all the time for services they could locate on their own for free. And a person isn't forced to pay; they have a free "membership." It may not be much good, but they have it. As others have said, there seems to be nothing illegal about it. And I'm not sure there's even anything unethical, at least as far as what Shadow Shopper itself is doing.

Scammers use Shadow Shopper to troll for victims. That's where the illegality and unethical use of shopper information is. But how is that any different from other online venues of this type? Even if the MSPA had any kind of authority over sites like this, exactly what could they "get" SS on?

Someone mentioned Craigslist, a huge venue for scammers to troll. But it's legitimate. Then there are the employment portals that scammers mine for information. Many of these give you basic access for free, but have a paid membership for full access. Or, you get basic listings without having to fully register, but if you want full access, you have to give them all your info. I've used some of these sites (e.g., Career Builder, Indeed, etc.). They're legitimate, but fertile ground for scammers. I get numerous offers per week for jobs where I can "work at home and get paid $72,000 yearly for part-time work processing payments." People who fall for that deserve what they get; it's not the fault of the portal site.

I had a free membership with SS, and there were "real" job "opportunities" fully posted there. But they were mostly things like giving out samples in grocery stores and doing spot inventory work. I wasn't interested in those, and I knew enough to not fall for the paid membership. But I did get my first mystery-shopping opportunity through my registration there. An MSC found my profile and called me. That's how I got started in this business.

So my experience may be different than that of many others, but objectively speaking, I still don't see what SS is doing that's actually illegal or "wrong." All of these sites probably should figure out how to better monitor for scammers, but I don't know how difficult it is to do that.

The people who really need to be stopped are the scammers themselves.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2015 02:10PM by BirdyC.
@isaiah58 wrote:

Shadow Shopper is also allowing the scammers, the ones almost every MSC has warnings about on their websites, to market registered users. But we are saying this is not something the MSPA should be concerned about!? Really?
The scammer philosophy is "where there is a will there is a way." Scammers are everywhere. Scammers are in this forum. Yes, we have the ability to report them and have their posts removed (sometimes) but there is nothing stopping them from creating another forum name and starting all over again. It is part of life in the technical age.
@pinchers81 wrote:

I'm a little tired of everyone acting like the MSCs or the MSPA are purely out to screw us over. I don't specifcally mean you, Password, it's just a prominent theme in so many of the threads I read. Do people really find it that much fun to pretend they're a victim?
There are several forum members who love playing the victim. They are very easy to detect but it does get old real fast.
@BirdyC,

The information SS provides is legitimate, their method of presentation is not.

SS openly claims that over 1,300 companies are using their listing service as a desperate attempt to find shoppers. SS is using indexing to find and post the shops, the companies are not participating in using them as a service. Based on this alone, every MSC does have a legitimate claim against them for false representation. It makes the MSCs look bad IMHO.

I will liken this to giftcardgranny if I can. The owner of that site found an agreeable way to help consumers find gift cards. If you use an "afffiliate" link from there and sign up with one of the portals that are actually selling gift cards, when you make a purchase an affiliate fee is paid to the referrer. Each site has different fee structures for their affiliate program. Just like Google Analytics and any number of legitimate affiliate/referral programs we all either knowingly or unknowingly use.

SS also clearly states they protect members from scammers. Yet as we have seen, they have no actual protocols in place. Worse, most of the emails members receive are from scammers. I am including the offers where you make money for doing a project then getting three others (pyramid) to do the same thing so you can get paid. Also the ones claiming you will make up to $65/$120 an hour for easy simple assignments. Wild goose chases and scams.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
@walesmaven wrote:

MSPA is mainly their lobbying arm, from what I have seen. They send teams of members to visit Members of Congress and state legislators to lobby for MSP friendly legislation and regulations. Their really big fear seems to be that Congress or the Department of Labor will investigate how they treat and compensate their editors and schedulers. They are very fearful that those folks will be found to actually not be ICs. To this end, they constantly ask their members to contact all of the shoppers asking shoppers to write to Congress to oppose any reforms in laws or regulations concerning IC status. They would like us to believe that it is shoppers who might be "turned into" employees so that we will help them keep editors and schedulers in IC status. We shoppers are treated as ICs; many MSPs treat the editors and schedulers like employees but claim them/pay them as ICs.

EXACTLY. Thank you.

@isaiah58: I don't see anyone stating the MSPA should not be concerned about Shadow Shopper, only that the MSPA doesn't have the authority to do anything if they are concerned.
What Shadow Shopper is doing is not illegal. It's not fair to shoppers, true, but there's a lot of unfair practices in business in general.
...

Shopping the Ohio Valley and all around the tri-state area (Pittsburgh, PA; Parkersburg, WV and Columbus, OH.)


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2015 06:49PM by MysteryMuse.
@isaiah58 wrote:

@BirdyC,

The information SS provides is legitimate, their method of presentation is not.

SS openly claims that over 1,300 companies are using their listing service as a desperate attempt to find shoppers. SS is using indexing to find and post the shops, the companies are not participating in using them as a service. Based on this alone, every MSC does have a legitimate claim against them for false representation. It makes the MSCs look bad IMHO.

This isn't entirely accurate. I have found several jobs on SS and in the section, "Where did you hear about us?" on the application at the MSC's website, SS is normally listed in the drop down box as one of the options. That leads me to believe that the MSCs are aware of, participating with and using SS to look for shoppers.

Shopping the Ohio Valley and all around the tri-state area (Pittsburgh, PA; Parkersburg, WV and Columbus, OH.)
Isaiah:

"Why (sic) can the MSPA do about Shadow Shopper? What can we do about this scam site?"

Once again we have an inaccurate and inflammatory thread title attacking a reputable company. We hear you and we understand your opinion. It's entirely possible you'll eventually get the response you deserve.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Well, the scammer others identified is now texting people. I am not including the CA phone number as it is easy to spoof that.

"Hello ,This is Alex Willehalm from SHADOW SHOPPER,I'm Texting in regards of the Mystery Shopper Evaluation available at walmart,Shop $50 and earn $250,Kindly email your Full Name, address and Phone Number to alexwille100@hotmail.com for further insight and Documentation"

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Mary,

Thanks for the bump.

I am a consumer advocate. We are in essence the consumers of the MSCs. I like the Ralph Nader approach. If MSPA is just a lobby to protect the providers, so be it. There are many Associations that have a lobby side while maintaining an arm to address abuses.

There are also industry leaders whom personally get involved in identifying issues and alerting consumers. There is a difference between leading and managing.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Do you really believe he's really with Shadow Shopper? Really?

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
But I did get my first mystery-shopping opportunity through my registration there. An MSC found my profile and called me. That's how I got started in this business.

It's exactly how I started, Birdy

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning; the devil shudders...And yells OH #%*+! SHE'S AWAKE!
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