how to handle illegal activities at a location

I went to do a chicken shop today for MFI and the location had allowed a person to take over 2 or their 4 tables to set up business selling pirated cds and dvds. This is highly illegal in my state. How should i handle this

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2019 07:16PM by shoppingfool.

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With MFI don't report it. They only want to know the answers to the specific questions asked.

Report it to the police if it bothers you.

Servimer Regional Manager- Midwest, including Chicago, Wisconsin & Minnesota
I did one 20 years ago where they were selling fake LV bags out of a car trunk.

Goes along with the neighborhood.
@SoCalMama wrote:

I did one 20 years ago where they were selling fake LV bags out of a car trunk.

Goes along with the neighborhood.
out of the trunk is one thing. Taking over half a restaurants tables and doing it is another
Contact the help desk and ask how they want it handled. It may not go onto the shop form, but they might want to relay the information to the client anyway.
This is what I would do.

@Susan L. wrote:

Contact the help desk and ask how they want it handled. It may not go onto the shop form, but they might want to relay the information to the client anyway.
@prince wrote:

This is what I would do.

@Susan L. wrote:

Contact the help desk and ask how they want it handled. It may not go onto the shop form, but they might want to relay the information to the client anyway.
That is what i did. They said they would pass it on but not to mention it on report. I feel like the restaurant owner should know what managers are allowing to happen at their stores. That seems like the whole purpose of mystery shopping.
If I were you, I would bypass MFI because they don't care about anything except the assignment itself. I would report it to corporate or do the survey on the receipt. If it's bared to do the survey on your shop receipt I'd buy an extra drink or something for a separate receipt.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2019 09:55PM by F and L TeleComm.
One reason not to mention it on the shop form: It will alert the staff of the day and time you were there, making it easier for them to identify you. Bad for anonymity, and bad for your safety, especially as something criminal is going on at that location.
I know your pain and struggle. I just did a chicken shop (its a nationwide chain but its two local shops only) and the cashier held onto my credit card out of my view for about 5 minutes. It was a drive throu shop. He said the credit card reader was acting up, but I hope he did not copy the numbers down (Just enough time for that).

I doubt I will mention it to the MSC but I am checking my credit card balance for the next few weeks.
If it’s the chicken shop I think it is... the last time I did one of these, someone at a nearby table tried on a bunch of shoes, then threatened to rob the place.
Anytime I think something strange might happen with my card I lock it for a while or freeze the account in Discover's case. Periodically, like once every year or two or anytime you think your card might have been compromised, just plan to not use that particular card for a week or so and order a new one with a new number. It's not to hard to do. Every time I check out of a hotel I lock my card for a few days. IF they try to make up something to charge on your card, oops the card is now a bad card. Some of my cards send me alerts if something gets declined, (not sure if all of them do, but I know I got one that said such and such online company tried to charge my card and my card was locked could I unlock it if I wanted to complete the order).
You can mention this kind of thing in any section that asks for your subjective impression.

I thought that video pirating was solely a federal issue. If it's a big deal to you, you can contact law enforcement. Would advise not ever contacting the corporate office as a mystery shopper for all the obvious reasons.
Unless there is a question relating to illegal activity, I would ignore it. My job is the mystery shop.
@dailydog wrote:

I know your pain and struggle. I just did a chicken shop (its a nationwide chain but its two local shops only) and the cashier held onto my credit card out of my view for about 5 minutes. It was a drive throu shop. He said the credit card reader was acting up, but I hope he did not copy the numbers down (Just enough time for that).

I doubt I will mention it to the MSC but I am checking my credit card balance for the next few weeks.
It’s even faster to take a photo of both sides of your CC, including the correct spelling of your name and the CVV on the back, when it’s out of your sight.
Just food for thought.
@1cent wrote:

You can mention this kind of thing in any section that asks for your subjective impression.

I thought that video pirating was solely a federal issue. If it's a big deal to you, you can contact law enforcement. Would advise not ever contacting the corporate office as a mystery shopper for all the obvious reasons.

How would they know it was the mystery shopper? Who would be so naive as to self identify? You would be a total fool to say btw I'm the mystery shopper! I did a review, that was not forbidden by guidelines but refused to enter the contest that went with it, I felt it was a conflict of interest. But it didn't stop me from letting someone know what they needed to know.
@dailydog wrote:

I know your pain and struggle. I just did a chicken shop (its a nationwide chain but its two local shops only) and the cashier held onto my credit card out of my view for about 5 minutes. It was a drive throu shop. He said the credit card reader was acting up, but I hope he did not copy the numbers down (Just enough time for that).

I doubt I will mention it to the MSC but I am checking my credit card balance for the next few weeks.
@dailydog wrote:

I know your pain and struggle. I just did a chicken shop (its a nationwide chain but its two local shops only) and the cashier held onto my credit card out of my view for about 5 minutes. It was a drive throu shop. He said the credit card reader was acting up, but I hope he did not copy the numbers down (Just enough time for that).

I doubt I will mention it to the MSC but I am checking my credit card balance for the next few weeks.


I happened to read the linked news article just about 10 minutes before I read your post. They don't need time to write down your number, just long enough to take a quick picture with a cell phone. Luckily, this person was stupid enough to do it on camera.

[www.newson6.com]
She was also stupid enough to order pizzas with the stolen credit cards and have them delivered to her own home. Duh!

@JeanneMarie wrote:

I happened to read the linked news article just about 10 minutes before I read your post. They don't need time to write down your number, just long enough to take a quick picture with a cell phone. Luckily, this person was stupid enough to do it on camera.

[www.newson6.com]
The client hires the mystery shop company to insure its employees are following protocol, so obviously they would want to be aware if their employees were allowing this or any illegal activity. I mean use a little common sense, do you think an employer is so concerned that their employees say, "Thank you, come again " but don't care if they allow this. Please, use a little common sense people. Also, dont report it to the police (unless you see a robbery or something). Some employers don't want police involved and would prefer to handle it in house.
I never had experience with seeing illegal activity while on a shop. However, when I was once on a shop for a fast food/casual restaurant, I mentioned in a narrative section of the report that the table top of the table I where I sat was loose. I said it almost swiveled. The next time I visited that restaurant, I purposely sat at the same table I reported on my last visit. I was disheartened to see that the tabletop was still loose. Either my remarks weren't forwarded to the client by the MSC, or the client simply didn't do anything about it.
When I was on a cellular shop, I had a very high individual run at me as I was approaching my truck. It’s a not so great area and the intent was clearly to rob me. I did not get a picture as stated in my paperwork, but it said to explain why and that was ok if you were not able to. I explained that I was almost robbed and they came back with that’s not a valid reason go back and take the picture. Lesson learned
@Mindcrime wrote:

In the scenario you've given, I would not mention it in the mystery shopping report. It is plausible that management was unaware that someone had set up shop in their dining area. Now, if the person selling the illegal merchandise was wearing a company uniform, or the material was being sold from the counter next to the register, then I would mention it in the report.

Either way, I would alert authorities. They will conduct an investigation, look at security footage, etc., and determine if the business itself was involved in selling pirated media.

And by authorities, that would be the FBI. But don't hold your breath, because such things are not exactly on their "very important things to do" list.
delete I posted twice because I received this message: "Sorry, the message you have requested could not be found."

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/19/2019 11:48AM by jameschicago.
@jroby1 wrote:

Which authority handles pirated cds? Prthaps an anonymous call outside of the shop itself to report the illegal behavior. If you explain the setup then you have given authorities the tools to do their job.

FBI-their interest will depend upon how much pressure the recording industry is currently pressing.
5 minutes? You only need 10 seconds to write down roughly a dozen numbers. I doubt if that was their intention. Login online to your cc account and see if there are any transactions that aren't yours. You can also call the cc company and they will send out a new cc and invalidate the old one.
@wintersilke wrote:

I once did a mystery shop where the client offered me a kickback to make the purchase (more than $1000 back on a $5000 purchase). I had my audio recorder going and informed my scheduler. They asked me to email the recording in. I do not know if it went to the client but I know I did my part responsibly.

OK, I have to find out what kind of shop that was. Can you at least provide a hint?
The film industry gets real upset about pirated DVDs and Blue Rays, but I think that the FBI is only interested in the top people. They might lean on the street level sellers, but again, such investigations are not as important as terrorist activity, hacking, cyber-theft, bank robberies...that kind of stuff.
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