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Who isn’t looking for a little extra cash at the holidays? An offer for an easy – and fun – job could seem like just what you need. That’s the email offer I got from a major retailer (or so it said) last week:

“Holidays are coming we need you in our team. We are hiring holiday shoppers. No experience needed, just an honest opinion. The job requires you to shop and evaluate our employees. You will get paid to shop and keep the products.”

While there are legit mystery shopper jobs out there, we almost never see them in offers that show up in your inbox. Or in the classified ads. Or on telephone poles. Or on your phone.

So, before you apply, here are some things to think about:

  • Don’t click on links in unexpected emails, which could be phishing for your money or personal information. Or both.
  • Never pay for access to a job, a directory of shopping jobs, or any kind of certification to work as a mystery shopper. Legit companies pay you to work for them; they don’t charge you.
  • Don’t wire money or send a prepaid debit card to a stranger. Ever. For any reason.
  • If you’re still curious, do some research. Contact the company directly. Find their information online through your own search, not by following a link from the email.

Read more about mystery shopping, and if you spot a scam, please tell us. Because you know who’s definitely looking for a little extra cash – preferably yours? Scammers.


I have received and earlier was actually involved with several scams before I lost heart, soul and money. Learned valuable lesson but continue to receive lots of money (like I have money coming to me or have money in my acct.) just lots of scams stuff and I have a complete pc folder of this stuff. I saved in case you are interested in working on any of these) You may contact me. These people are brutal and so many of our great folks like me with a social security income and could use some cash and sometimes companionship offered.

List of good advice, but will not work. Enforce a law against large corporations such as Microsoft who sell everyone's info. Why, they have sites which make no profit, so they sell our lives for profit. Myself a victim of ID Theft gives scam artists, surveys, big return! Should I contact you daily with a list, or email response from Microsoft?

I would needs some money right now. it is possible to get it?

Are the customers aware that they are in a commercial setting.

Why, Do you announce it?

is this a scam? e-zine-service
they pay you money to take surveys

U need check out a pch $10,000 a week give away contest #4900 it seems to good to b true + I think that was over in April 2015 not Dec.30

you bet pch is scam i have been pling for two years and got nothing they always tell youthat it could and that is the key word COULD BE YOU

Received quite a few mystery shoppers that say it is for Walmart. Just delete them immediately

I have one a check wondering? Evaluate walmart...not sure how do you know if ok ? Certified Check

is 5 minute loan application a part of scam and what is the status of this company

I have received and earlier was actually involved with several scams before I lost heart, soul and money. Learned valuable lesson but continue to receive lots of money (like I have money coming to me or have money in my acct.) just lots of scams stuff and I have a complete pc folder of this stuff. I saved in case you are interested in working on any of these) You may contact me. These people are brutal.

The information you have about scams could help law enforcement. Please complain to the FTC at You can list names and contact information for companies and tell us what happened in your own words. The details you provide help law enforcement with investigations nationwide.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

Finally somthing worth getting into with my useless time and don't have much like some peps

Bridget can u give us a different way of contacting the FTC about scams cause your convince complaint inbox is overly full. Good news though is the holidays because very few telemarketers calling

You can report a scam to the FTC online at This is an online database, not a mailbox.

I bought a car and learned that the car company used my contact information to open a fraudulent email address under my name and gave themselves glowing reports about their car service. Am I at risk? None of my bank account or SSN were on my contact info profile.

You can report this theft of information to the management at the car dealership, your state Attorney General’s office and the FTC at

You can also tell the online review service what happened.


I am 64 and on disability. Recently checked my credit score and found 3 accounts I never heard of like mortgage, car loan and credit card in my name. Also, several accounts that were closed years ago and are listed as open. I can't get a "my account" with social security online because of this either. How can I fix this?

This FTC article explains how to dispute errors you found on your credit report. You will need to tell the credit reporting company in writing what you think is wrong. The article has sample letters you can use.

Go to this page and find ways to contact Social Security.

A secret shopper & wire the cash to Poland ! Tnx for your help

Someone from the so called Goverment said I could receive 9000.00 I don't have to pay back. First they need all my banking info and they said they would deposit aproximatey 500.00 tonight and I had to call Daniel back at 1-509-779-2099 between 7 and 8 am eastern time while at a Walmart with my debt card and DL. Then scan my debit to pay the 500.00 back. Then they would deposit 9000.00 in my account from the Federal Reserve. Then Jacob Black called me from 1-443-552-3300 and said my online account was locked so they can't deposit the money and for me to reopen it and call him back tomorrow so they can deposit the money! I told him they already had my account # and Rounting they could still deposit but he said they couldn't until my online banking was reopened. This sounds like another scam. Please make sure and call these people so no one else is scammed!!!

Has anyone heard of jonathaan daniels ?

Yes, Jonathan Daniels' name is on the paperwork I received after signing up for mystery shopping job. Jessie Paredes is the the name on the other casheiers check I received from a different 'company' offering cash for similar work. Man they really suck...frauds!

I received a cashiers check for $2894 and opened a checking account the check was returned and account marked as a scam and now I owe the bank this money and I never used a dime of this money.. I'm out this money that I never even got to use or touch.

I have received 2 checks just days after clicking on a 'random' survey and registering my email on a site that obviously grabbed my attention with all its bells and whistles, colorful and flashy ads that serves its purpose of getting a person's attention...

Especially someone who is actively seeking at home &/or part-time work that works easily around busy family schedule... Its a really mean way to be: I nearly ran out of gas attempting to cash the 'cashiers check', which one merchant told me was one of the largest amounts she had seen up to date. The lady at Ace Cash Express called another lady who took information about the check, including the scammers name and mine also. I just want to close my email out and start inboxes are littered with spam related offers of everything that I need to make my life's problems go away! Beware Consumers

Secret Shopper gig where I would send 2,500 to a person in Turkey?!? Cashiers Check for mystery shop Walmart. They were the first who refused to cash the check!

I'm wondering have you heard of binary investments. They've sent me copious emails trying to get me to invest two hundred dollars to open an account that will give me returns of thousands each day, week. Have you heard of these guys??

I was looking for an online loan. I was approved but the person told me they had to deposit a small amount of cash into my checking account and then I would have to take it out and load it onto a itunes card and send it back the next day then I would get the original amount I had ask for. What am I supposed to do now. They have all my personal information.

If you give someone your bank account number, they can take your money. If you want to close your bank account so the person can't take your money, call your bank.

If you buy an iTunes card and tell someone the code from the card, he takes control of the card immediately. You lose the money you spent on the card, and you lose the iTunes card.

I received a money order certified in the mail along with instructions to secret shop and return my survey. It's a money order how do I find out if it's real.

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