Friday, September 19, 2008

Finding Companies

You'll want to be very, very careful when signing up with a mystery shopping company. There are scams galore that pass themselves off as mystery shopping companies or opportunities. Providing your name, address, phone number and Social Security number online is a recipe for identity theft. But those are the very pieces of information required by shopping companies. What to do?

Do your homework There are sites that warn shoppers of scams and questionable companies. The Mystery Shopping Provider's Association can be trusted, and on their website is a forum for shoppers to discuss scams and questionable companies as well as a listing of their member companies. The MSPA checks out their member companies very thoroughly.

Ask fellow shoppers There are a number of forums for mystery shoppers to connect with each other, including the Mystery Shopping Forum, the forums at, the WAHM forum, the Yahoo group Lila's Lounge and Mystery Shop Resources, to name just a few. As you read posts, you'll find a group that meets your needs and likely fall in with a great group of people.

Use common sense I don't want to insult anyone's intelligence, but I need to say it: If you are completing an online form and you are asked for personal information, you need to be on a page that begins https:// and not just http:// The "s" stands for secure. It's not foolproof, but it's a layer of security beyond nothing. Remember, do not put any details on a non-secured website that you don't want published in a newspaper with world-wide readership.

Let's be careful out there.

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