Can anyone tell me which companies that you pay a one-time fee to are the legitamate ones?
For example: paidforfree.com; secretshoppingcenter.com; myshoppingjobs.
These are supposedly legit and will give money back if not satisfied.
Can anyone validate these claims?
I certainly would not pay a dime for any of them. Even if they guarantee money back, when was the last time you had an outfit do that?? If you have money you want to throw away, rather give it to your favorite charity. All of those need the money too and at least you can feel good about helping.
If any sites require you to pay to shop or if they promise some huge dollar figure for almost no work involved, they are probably a scam. Also if they send you a check in the mail that you are supposed to cash, that is also a scam.
I would modify that last sentence "If they send you a check in the mail BEFORE THE JOB that you are supposed to cash AND USE FOR THE JOB AND TO KEEP YOUR PAYMENT FROM, that is also a scam." There are still a number of companies that pay by check, but payment comes AFTER the shop, not before.
This morning on the local news was a report regarding the Nigerian scam, where a mystery shopper received an official check in the amount of $1800+ and was to cash it, then evaluate Western Union. She (personally interviewed with name provided - so much for anonymity), took the check to the authorities, who told her to disregard the company and destroy the check. No help from law enforcement. Subsequently, she is receiving letters and numerous phone calls from this company telling her she has committed fraud and could face 25 years in prison for non-compliance. The lengths that this company goes to in pursuit of her has unnerved the shopper and her husband, even though they know she committed no crime.
The shopper didn't indicate that law enforcement let her down. Her reason for going public was to warn others of this scam.
And the worst part of this (aside from law enforcement not giving a damn) is that she obviously provided the scammers with her name, address and phone number. She might not have been so generous had they been asking for her SS#. If they are calling her then obviously she can get their phone number (even if it is a throw away cell phone) to help authorities catch these jerks.
Exactly. I'm assuming this would fall under federal jurisdiction, and wonder what arm-twisting would be needed to get authorities to expend resources and prosecute. The husband indicated messages were left on both their landline and cell, so she obviously provided those numbers. This couple were 60-70 years old and live in a retirement community that doesn't come cheap. No one is exempt from unscrupulous practices.
An aside. Several months or longer ago, there was posting regarding some type of internet/voice mail. At the time, I didn't understand how it worked, but maybe it was an alternative to providing a phone number. Can anyone recall and elaborate?
“Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling."
~Gilbert K. Chesterton
Thanks for all the good advice. just one question though. I have seen several people mention that Shadow Shopper is a good one to start with if you DO pay for the info and links to companies looking for mystery shoppers. Do you have anything good or bad to say about this one?
Shadow Shopper apparently has an 'introductory' offer that is free or low cost. Some folks have found it useful. On the other hand, make sure that you get your trial 'subscription' cancelled in plenty of time because once they hit your credit card you won't get it back, even if your 'introductory' or 'trial' offer was not yet finished when you cancelled. But then again, with a free list of legitimate companies as the first post of the first thread of the Mystery Shopping Company Discussion area, why even pay for a list? There are also free lists at Volition.com, of MSPA member companies at mysteryshop.org, at msfreedom.org, etc. The lists overlap extensively, but they have in common that they are all free and are/have been used by shoppers.
FYI: I have been the target (not successfully) of more Nigerian and Ghana scams than you could dream about.
Here is where you forward them to.
US postal inspectors. com
Attorney General of your state
FBI Fraud Division
Secret Service Fraud division (credit card division)
It would be nice just to get one of these charlatans where they sit.