SHOPPER ALERT: Don't be a victim of scammers!
MSPA would like to remind all shoppers to be extra careful when receiving emails that appear to be from mystery shopping companies that they do not work for regularly, or that look different in style from those that they usually receive from companies they often carry out work for. Also, we would urge shoppers to never trust emails from companies that send emails offering to post out money (usually cheques) before completion of work.
As is the case in many industries today, fraudsters are continuing to target mystery shoppers in an attempt to make ‘easy’ money. These scammers operate by pretending to be MSPA, or a MSPA member company, and offering work to shoppers. The work offered will usually involve cashing a cheque they will send to the shopper, and/or asking the shopper to wire money elsewhere. More recently, salaries have been offered to shoppers for completing higher volumes of evaluations.
REMEMBER: IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!
Please use this checklist if you have any doubts about the validity of an email that you have received:
- Check the email address of the person writing to you. It should always match the website address of the mystery shopping company.
- Telephone or email the company using the website form (or contact us page) on the official website to ask about the email received before taking any other action.
- Never click a link within an email that you do not trust is real.
- If you are unsure if a provider is legitimate, check the company information on the MSPA EU/A website www.mspa-ea.org. All MSPA members’ details are listed on this site.
Some important details to remember:
- Mystery shopping companies DON’T offer a salary.
- They REQUIRE you to register an application form within their administration system.
- They NEVER send an assignment offer to a shopper who does not already have log in details and a password for their system.
- They ALWAYS allow you to view your profile on their system, and check your shopper history with them.
- They will NEVER ask you to pay to carry out work for them.
- They will ALWAYS carry out a briefing with you, usually over the phone, before you carry out any work for them.
- They will ALWAYS provide a detailed evaluation form and completion instructions on how to carry out the evaluation.
- They will ALWAYS instruct you how to use the reporting system on their site.
If you have already received cheques or money orders from a scammer, you can report it to:
- The European Consumer Centres Network, who has issued a report regarding Fraud in Europe - Fraud in cross-border e-commerce.pdf
- You can now report internet scams/attempted scams online: www.ecops.be
- You can now report internet scams/attempted scams online: www.garda.ie
- You can now report internet scams/attempted scams online: www.fraudehelpdesk.nl
- You can now report internet scams/attempted scams online with Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
- The National Consumers League at http://www.fraud.org via the online complaint form. In addition, you can report scams for further investigation to the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here: Federal Trade Commission Scam Reporting.
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