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Mystery shop ’til you drop? Not so fast

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Who wouldn’t love getting paid to shop and dine at cool places and then review them? Whether you’re a student looking for a summer job or someone wanting to start a side or full-time business, mystery shopping sounds like an exciting option. But while some mystery shopping opportunities are legitimate, many are scams that rob you, not pay you.

Here are a few ways to spot and avoid mystery shopping scams:

  • Search the company with the words “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”
  • Remember: Honest companies pay you to work for them, not charge you. If the company asks you to pay upfront to get the opportunity, walk away. No real job opportunity, including mystery shopping, involves paying for the job.
  • Don’t pay companies for “certifications,” directories or job “guarantees,” all of which are usually worthless. Companies asking you to pay for such things are likely scammers.
  • If you’re asked to deposit checks into your bank account and send money back to pay for courses, fees or anything else, stop. This is a fake check scam. When the check bounces, you’ll be out of the money you sent and may have to pay more to the bank.
  • Never wire money or buy gift cards for a mystery shopping assignment or any job opportunity. Those are sure signs of a scam.

If you’re looking for legitimate mystery shopping jobs, check out the Mystery Shopping Providers Association for a database of authentic companies. But if you spot any scams, report them to the FTC at and your state attorney general’s office.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money
Scam Tags:  Job Scams


Are the kelton mystery shoppers checks legit

Today I received one of several text messages all are using legitimate company name when I look at the company I do not find the individuals name or the correct phone number I know these are scams but I thought I would send it on to you

I just received a check in the mail for $2,390.73, with a letter that has the American Express log on the top left corner and another picture of the Amex gift cards. The letter instructed me to keep $295.00 as my commission and try to cash the cashiers check, if check cannot be cashed the. Deposit the check and start shopping “Right Away” for Amex gift cards and shop in big box store and observe everything, take notes and send all information plus pictures of the front and back of the cards. I tried to look up American Express for a Freud dept for scams but no luck so I came on this site to warn consumers. The check is from Texas and the phone number of the Representative is Beaverton, Oregon.

Does anyone know if flora surgery services is safe or not, I saw an email I know theres some legit ones out there but I’m being very cautious, cause I almost felt for a scam a couple of months ago, and I was just curious if anyone knows if this one is real or not.

I received a check for over $2000 today. Thank God for this website. I didn’t go cash the check. Thank you to whoever started the comments!

I received an email asking if I wanted to be a secret shopper, I didn't get to answer the email. I received a check today for $2980.00 with instructions. I researched the company that sent the check, couldn't find anything on them. Should I let them know I got the check and play alone to get more information. I would never deposit the check anyway.

I recieved a check yesterday for $1300.00 with instructions to cash it then go to Walmart but $1200.00 in gift cards keep $300.00 to me this sounds fishy also the guy text me several times to tell me go cash it the same day

I receive a Priority mail yesterday with a check for $1890. I was to participate in a Kroger Survey project. I was to cash the check and go to three different Kroger's and buy $500 in eBay gift cards and spend $20 in groceries. Keep $300 for myself. Yes I did cash the check and off I went to the Kroger stores. I did purchase the gift cards and $20 in groceries but as I was coming home a light bulb came on. So I searched the internet to see if the was a scam and I am glad I did. Before I completed my "survey" and texted them copies of the gift cards. But now I have $1500 in eBay gift cards, I wish I could return. I feel like such a dummy.

So I received a envelope with A check and a letter in it, describing that I should deposit the check into my bank take 300 out, and then go to 3 different stores and buy gift cards with the money. At first I thought it was a scam, then I had remembered that I applied for a secret shopper job a few weeks back, but I don’t know....sounds like a scam. I’m not doing anything with it until I get a second opinion...

I received a fedex package containing a check for $1470 from Rylan Grayson phone number 830-310-5088/830-320-2089 saying to take check and deposit in account and I’ve never applied for secret whatever.

I recieved the same cashier's check for 1470.00 to spend at walmart on gift cards. They sent a letter with the check explaining what to do. Leaving the same phone number 830-320-2089 and 830-310-5088. I called the texasgulf federal credit union, that's who name was on the check. The woman I spoke with said that it was fraudulent after she asked me who was the remiter

I got the mail from Rylan Grayson too for the same amount and now I’m here and read all the messages of scam attempts. It’s very sad specially in times like this when people are looking for a part time or full time job to eat or have a roof over their head tomorrow

This is still happening just got a check and instructions in the mail. Going to find out who to contact to put these people out of biz, I hope.

What’s the chance to get my money back after cashing out 1 check ($1895) to purchase the gift cards that the scammer already redeemed? Where and how did you get your money back? I’m glad I did not fall for the other 2 checks and didn’t cash them out.

They are currently contacting me. I am playing stupid. How can I help? They have two different emails they are emailing me from and one SMS number. The only info I have that they slipped on us a third party email address they accidentally sent me and the company they ship their labels from. Contact me

Scam!!! Kelton!!! I just received a check and on the top it “Cashiers Check” and state employee’s credit union. for 2,400$. I was happy in the beginning because my fiancé passed away and he worked for the state , As I was going to throw the envelope out , I thank God noticed another paper included with it. Which said “ mystery shopper”. They wanted me to get gift cards at Cvs, Walgreens etc. and write a review. I decided to goggle the company and realized this Company was is a scam!!!!! This is my first post and Hopefully this will help someone.

Today I received via priority mail a check for $2390.73 for an American Express gift card scam. I first got a text last week, then the mail. Threw it out.

My daughter has received a check for the amount of 3,880.00 now they want her to deposit it in her account then wait 24 hours until it clears and then keep 400 dollars and the rest go to the post office and send them the rest of the money,,this don't sound good

I just received a letter that might be the the start of a scam for mystery shopping Wal-Mart. I shopped there one day, then the next day I received a text asking me to rate their service. The following day I received a text saying I'd been chosen to apply to be a mystery shopper for Wal-Mart. I'd receive a minimum of $500 for 10 minutes of my time and I could do up to 3 a week. The only thing that makes it seem legit is that I had just shopped there. Oddly though, I paid cash. Not sure how they got my info but I did pick up a prescription and that had all my contact info on it. Does this seem familiar to anyone.

I got one from the USPS and it had 1,800 and I think is because I sign up for a part time job related to Walmart I think and send me a check by Optimum Consult LLC

Trust me it is a scam. I just got scammed today and all my money is gone. Every thing looked in order, but when I got the phone call from my bank, I was devastated. Just got paid and my entire check gone. I had friends that had done it and said they made money but I guess this time we just got scammed.

I received a check from a tire company was sent to ok someone in texas but tire company is in colorado. Asking me to deposit check and take and get gift card from a Walmart. I've researched and I'm sure this is a scam this is twice in the last couple months. What should I do besides inform ftc

I"ve been contacted by a company by the name of SpyShopper...the HR Manager is Carl Kroll. Sounds too good to be true..offering first payment of over $2000 if I proceed. Sounds like a scam, especially after reading your posts. Has anyone else heard of this company?
Should I report to FTC at this point..I havent actually received the check yet. Thanks for any info.

I just recieved a check in the mail. It said deposit in MY bank and buy EBay or Nike gift cards and then scratch the silver stuff off and send a copy. ......and I realized......SCAM. Glad I trusted my GUT FEELINGS.

Scammers still at in 2021. I received a package to my PO box it was a survey package with a check for $2950. $450 was for me and the test was to purchase $500 gift cards and then reply back with information on the card and wait until further instructions are sent. So many red flags so I had to research and low and below this cramp has been allowed to continue for almost 3 years. As the saying goes if it is to good to be true it probably isn't real.

I received a letter via usps claiming to be a mystery shopping service, with no proper Information relating to the company. They sent a check for $2,390.73 for me to cash and buy gift cards for and keep $265. They also asked to buy Amex gift cards totaling $1,000 and to buy a cashiers check of $30 addressed to the Red Cross. The letter was mailed from Los Angeles and the phone number for the contact person is a Michigan phone number.

Just got a text message unsolicited offering a mystery shopper opportunity for $200 a job 3x a week....not sure about this

Walgreens customer survey scam asking you to purchase gift cards and sends a $1650 check by Usps in a priority envelope. Check by alliance and company called safeaut centre inc

I'm looking at one of these letters right now! When it's too good to be true, IT IS!

I cant cash out the check and stay with the money?

Wesley Thomas still at it. Got my $2,930 cashier's check in mail today. Navy Federal Credit Union . $350 for me. 2 different walmarts. Gift cards totaling $2400. Shop with $120. I keep that stuff of course. And a cashier's check for $50. Take a pic of all and send to 470-414-0381!!

Help! Someone sent me a $3,500 check and I deposited it, only right after did I find out it was a scam. Has anyone been through this and has advice? Or anyone with advice in general??

I just received a text from Optimum Const, Inc asking if I want to be mystery shopper and make $400 - 800/week.
I think not?
Ty for this site.

Happened to me:( I cannot believe I fell for it and feel so humiliated and violated. They stole $2400 and I owe the bank now. I wish my bank had held the check or checked the account or something. But because I'm a good customer the bank just gave the cash to me and I went along mystery shopping. Wrote out an amazing report too. Ugh! Bank gives you no recourse to recover funds either. Very frustrating

I haven't done anything yet. I received a 1950.00 check stating i was selected to be a mystery shoppers. I have to go to the bank and deposit the check and wait for it to clear and take the money out cash and go to Wal-Mart and buy apple play cards at 2 stores. Can someone let me know if this sounds legit?

Thanks for the info on your site. I would repeat what others have said about secret shopping for EBay cards and the money I would receive. I was very skeptical to begin with but these complaints sealed the deal.

I've been reading these comments. I just received pkg today and we should ALWAYS report it. Don't just "let it go". It's money laundering and costing us a tremendous amount of tax dollars.

Today I received a check for $1950.00, along with a letter from OPtimum Consult a guy names DAVE MORGAN claimed to be the contact. It wanted me to buy E-Bay gift cards, scratch off the back and send him pictures(Good clear pics he said) and text the front and back to (407) 765-6385. I immediately knew it was a scam, but I feel bad for the people that go for it because they are the ones that will get in trouble.

**Update** Well DAVE called me this morning, of course I did not answer because I turned his name and number into the police. Hopefully something will come of it. I sure hope so. I wanted to give him....nevermind.


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