Mystery shoppers who send in reports that are fake!

I just spoke with an associate about Mystery Shoppers who told me that they have had several shoppers who send in a report without doing the shop. They lie about their location, pick-up business cards and use them whenever. I could not believe that someone would do this, I must be naïve! I was told that they had proof, check cameras and have other ways of knowing. What's your take?

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In the past I have been the beneficiary of some well bonused, extremely urgent shops when an MSP discovered that the shopper had taken lots of shops and faked them all. It does happen. It is why we are asked for more and more complex proofs of visit and one of the reasons for limiting how many shops a shopper can take even if they are in rotation for other locations. To avoid this kind of fraud there are pieces of software that can determine especially where and when a cell phone photograph was taken.
Right before the Christmas holidays there were some convenience store/gas station shops that are typically low pay in this area that kept creeping up and up. I took a few of them at a decent bonus and then just a couple of days before Christmas there was a desperate need for two or three others to be done and it was name your own price. I named a fairly high price to do five of them and was immediately awarded them however the scheduler also sent me an email that said two of the past three times those destinations had been done the reports have been false and the client was getting very upset so to be sure everything was done correctly. I got them done and have been putting them up at a decent price since.

I also know when I was scheduling compliance shops that there were a few shoppers who attempted to turn in false reports.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/2016 02:50AM by Traveliz.
Faking a report is a great idea if you have no self respect, pride in accomplishment, sense of fair play and don't want to be responsible for your actions. If you are a liar and a cheat then it is for you. And also a quick way to get fired.
To me, the stress of knowing it was fake and worrying about the potential ramifications would outweigh whatever amount of time and energy I saved by not doing the shop and just reporting a fake interaction. Seems like it would only make sense for a really basic shop: a complex shop with several interactions or lots of narrative would still require you to make up and type out several fake scenarios... seems like it'd be easier to just do the shop.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
Many shoppers do cheat and cut corners. Some of them have been stupid enough to brag about it on a public forum. They eventually get caught or move on to the next get quick scheme. Or they hire MS'ers to MS the MS'er.
Scammers are in all walks of life, unfortunately.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I find it very sad that "unprofessional" so-called shoppers scam the system and it really hurts the legitimate honest shoppers.

I also find it mortifying that the mystery shopping companies/clients read these posts here and realize there is cheating going on. I really hope this is more rare than the norm.

They are paying for a service and some small-brained ingrate, who calls themselves a mystery shopper, decides that mystery shopping is a great way to rip off mystery shopping companies with "fabricated" reports. .
I am certain that mystery shopping companies and clients are fully aware that there is the potential for cheating and that cheating occurs.

The onus is on the mystery shopping companies to make sure that they are providing the clients with honest, reliable data. When they fail to do so, the egg is on their faces. At the same time they are not paid enough to do thorough background checks on every shopper who registers and competent shoppers are not paid enough to make mystery shopping a valued career choice. My best year mystery shopping I earned before expenses roughly 25% of my pre-retirement salary. "You get what you pay for."

Most mystery shopping companies address their honesty issues with a variety of fail safes from trick questions to extensive proofs to similarity between shoppers of shopper findings to try to weed out those who are dishonest. I found several years after the fact that I was not seeing shops from a particular company because they had decided based on my description of the restroom that I had not visited it and had falsified the report. They didn't ask me, they paid me for the shop and they just didn't let me see further shops. It hurt and was annoying because I thought I had a good working relationship with them. I certainly had no memory of the restroom in question, though I know I would have reported what I saw. Reviewing my records, I had only two shops that day, both had restroom visits, so the only thing I can figure is that perhaps I switched the restroom observations between the two reports. I know I did not set out to falsify anything.
How can you make up names and descriptions of people? It seems like it would be more difficult to fake a report than actually do one. But I have only done shops that I need pictures and/or descriptions and names for. Seems lame. Doubt it happens that often though, it's too easy to catch.
@CaliGirl925 wrote:

To me, the stress of knowing it was fake and worrying about the potential ramifications would outweigh whatever amount of time and energy I saved by not doing the shop....

I'm guessing that a low-life who would fake a shop wouldn't stress over it at all!

@ wrote:

S... seems like it'd be easier to just do the shop.

I was thinking the same thing.... Wouldn't it take as much time to make something up as to just do the damned shop?

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

I was thinking the same thing.... Wouldn't it take as much time to make something up as to just do the damned shop?
But they don't spend time and money on travel expenses. I know of a former shopper who stole images from the Internet. He did get caught when he used a restaurant photo that had changed management. menu and decor. BUSTED!
That explains why photos have to be map enabled, business cards have to be dated or cut, and guidelines tell us that we are being video recorded.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
It happens in the merchandising world too. Unfortunately. Makes it more of a hassle for the honest people to do their jobs with all the additional proof required.
It even happens in the video/audio recorded shop world!

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.
Used to shop a defunct supermarket chain and at times, employees in numerous depts had no name tags and it bugged me when doing the report that the msc would assume I just did not visit each department. So I would return later looking for another employee with name tag. I would stress to the msc about the lack of many name tags...
Also, read that a shopper was prosecuted for faking a shop at bank, they had taken a business card and walked out forgetting that they were on Candid Camera. They got what they deserved---prosecution for fraud...
I would dislike myself if I allowed myself to behave dishonestly. If I dislike myself I tend to mistreat myself in various ways i.e. overeating, risking traffic tickets, lax grooming etc.

I don't claim high morality, it's just self preservation and pride.
Dishonesty is just stupid and low life.
I do mystery shopping for fun.
There isn't any fun in cheating.
Its like looking at the answers for a crossword puzzle and passing off the result as your own effort.
@Bubbabubba wrote:

God is all knowing and PERFECTLY just. HE has a place prepared for them.]
What MSC does he work for?
@TeriW wrote:

@Bubbabubba wrote:

God is all knowing and PERFECTLY just. HE has a place prepared for them.
What MSC does he work for?
Maybe that one that does churches?

Shopper in California's Bay Area
I see lots of MSC's that say that the video camera is watching. Never seen one that warns that God is watching. I must not be signed up with that one.
@LIJake wrote:

Faking a report is a great idea if you have no self respect, pride in accomplishment, sense of fair play and don't want to be responsible for your actions. If you are a liar and a cheat then it is for you. And also a quick way to get fired.

It's also a great idea if they want to make the shops more complex for the rest of us.

Honestly, I sometimes wonder what planet these fraudsters are on. Do they not know that with today's technology MSCs can tell if a receipt has been used more than once or a photo has been used more than once? Do they not know that the MSCs can contact the locations and ask if what the fraudster says happened during the shop really happened? Do they not know that the client and/or the MSC can check the security video and that there are security cameras almost everywhere? Do they really not understand why many MSCs ask for a photo of the shopper or that the shopper carry around a large item? I believe that it is so the MSC or the clients can spot the shopper in the security video. What part of this do the fraudsters not get?

"Evolve thyself and lose all hate...." Orphaned Land
I cannot imagine faking a shop. I get so up tight that I drove 22 miles back to a shop once because I forgot if the employee wore glasses.
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