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How To Avoid the Mystery Shopping Cheque Scam

There is a current scam operating in Australia, which can see unsuspecting would-be mystery shoppers ripped off for many thousands of dollars.

Luckily, we have been able to get a copy of the emails and the cheque from one of our shoppers. We have published it below, with the comments in red so that you know what to look out for:

mystery shopping secret shopper
get Paid To Shop woman with secret

How To Spot a Scam

  • The advert does not give a website or the email does not match the website given.

  • The company does not have a street address or phone number (or only a mobile number)

  • There is a Hotmail / Gmail / other free email involved.

  • You get an unsolicited email offering you a mystery shopping job.

  • There is material obviously lifted from a website (copyright notices etc)

  • They ask you to pay for registration / training / certification.

  • They use their middle name in business correspondence

  • You get an unsolicited cheque

  • The English is stilted or inappropriate

  • The instructions are confusing, unclear or contradict themselves.

  • It sounds too good to be true (that's because it is!)

The best way is to not respond and to only deal with reputable companies. If in doubt (i.e. it passes all the above tests) then respond to the email asking for a number you can contact them on. Then Google the number to see if it marches any real companies.

If you receive a cheque, either bin it immediately, or take it to the police. Either:

  • The cheque is not genuines, and will bounce, leaving you out of pocket; or

  • The cheque is genuine and you cash it, in which case you have been involved in a money-laundering scheme

Neither of these have good outcomes!