15 Best Mystery Shopper Jobs & Companies to Make Extra Money

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How would you like to get paid to shop with the best mystery shopping companies?

That’s exactly what thousands of people just like you and me are doing to earn hundreds, even thousands of dollars each month.

The companies paying these “mystery” shoppers need feedback for their business – so they’re willing to pay mystery shoppers to collect it.

It’s a win-win for everybody involved. The question is, how can you earn money as a mystery shopper?

What is a Mystery Shopper?

If you’ve never heard of a mystery shopper before, it’s a person who is paid to act like a regular, everyday shopper, then provide feedback on their experience.

Reputable mystery shopping companies give secret shoppers a list of tasks to complete, such as asking specific questions about a product or receiving a service (for example, an oil change).

Following the completion of the tasks, the mystery shopper reports feedback on the cleanliness of the shop environment, the helpfulness of the employees, and other details about their experience.

Companies pay secret shoppers for providing this information. In most cases, they also reimburse shoppers for any expenses incurred.

Related: 25 Online Jobs That are Legitimate, Easy, and Flexible

How to Become a Secret Shopper (and Find Mystery Shopper Jobs Near Me)

Becoming a mystery shopper is simple. All you do is sign up with the best mystery shopping companies (we’ve done the hard work for you and listed them all below), choose your tasks or assignments, and start shopping.

We only recommend the highest quality mystery shopping services. No scams here.

You can sign up with as many mystery shopping services as you’d prefer. The more companies you sign up with, the more opportunities you have to make easy money.

More jobs equals more income, and who doesn’t want that?

One secret shopper worked for 75 companies (at his peak) and made $14,000 in one year just from performing mystery shops on weekends, during his lunch break, and on the way home from work. The sky is the limit and the more shopping opportunities, the better.

Need money now and wondering where to find the best mystery shopper jobs “near me”? These 15 companies are for you:

15 Best Mystery Shopping Companies to Work For

Let’s take a look at the top secret shopper companies you’ll want to be a part of.

1. Secret Shopper

secret shopper homepage

Secret Shopper is a well-established company that helps clients improve their businesses using mystery shoppers to gather data.

They’ve been around since 1993 and are very credible with many awards, including the MSPA Elite award for 2018. It’s completely free to sign up, and you set your own hours.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to shop on their website
  2. Read and agree to the “Secret Shopper® Shopper Ethics and Conduct, Terms and Conditions, and Policies and Procedures Agreement”.
  3. Complete the basic certification test
  4. Fill out your personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, etc.
  5. Upon completion of your personal information, you’ll receive your shopper ID and password. Use your ID and password to log in, then view and schedule available shops for you to complete.
  6. That’s it — you’re a mystery shopper!

2. Market Force

market force mystery shopper job

At Market Force, you’ll complete mystery shops for banks, restaurants, and stores in order to help those businesses thrive.

By giving feedback on content such as cleanliness, product selection, and customer service, the businesses receive the information they need to succeed. Market Force has been awarded MSPA Shopper’s Choice Award three years in a row, making it a great choice for mystery shoppers to work with.

How it works:

  1. Create a Shopper Force Account (enter your name, email, ZIP Code, and choose a password)
  2. Answer several personal history questions
  3. Sign and date to the Terms of the Agreement
  4. You’re done! View your shopper portal to start accepting jobs.

3. GBW

gbw solutions mystery shopping evaluator

GBW is located in over 105 different countries and currently has 400,000+ secret shoppers. You can become one of the many who helps to improve customer service and get paid for your time. If you’re interested in retail and have an eye for detail, GBW is for you.

How it works:

  1. Click the big red button that says “Become a Shopper”
  2. Select your country
  3. Fill out personal information including your name, email address, DOB, and phone number
  4. Complete a few demographic questions regarding your address, education, current job, etc.
  5. Answer questions about your technology, legal history, where you found out about GPW, and why you want to be a mystery shopper
  6. Add your references
  7. Check your email for your login credentials. Happy shopping!

4. Pinnacle

pinnacle financial strategies homepage

Pinnacle has been around for 20 years. They assist financial institutions by helping them improve their service and sales quality. Their secret shoppers work solely with credit unions and banks, making it a great choice for anybody interested in finance. It’s completely free to become a mystery shopper with Pinnacle.

How it works:

  1. Click the button that says New Shopper Sign Up
  2. Enter your email address
  3. Add your basic personal information, including bank account details (so you can get paid)
  4. Answer demographic questions to help Pinnacle find the best jobs for you
  5. Agree to the terms
  6. You’re in!

5. A Closer Look

a closer look mystery shopping company

With the MSPA “Elite Company” award for 2018 and over 8 different industries to perform mystery shops for, A Closer Look is a quality option for every secret shopper.

They pride themselves in making sure your mystery shopping experience is tailored to your needs. If performing secret shops for hotels, restaurants, retail, health and wellness, and much more sounds up your alley, you’ll love working for A Closer Look.

How it works:

  1. Click the big red button that says Become a Mystery Shopper.
  2. Provide a current email address.
  3. Once your email has been approved, you’ll receive a link to the application page (the link expires in 2 days, so complete the mystery shopper application ASAP).
  4. Fill out your personal and demographic information, then answer the 10-question Shopper Qualification survey. The entire process should take about 20-30 minutes.
  5. As a final part of the mystery shopper application, submit a narrative about your most recent dining experience. This is used to show your ability to reiterate your experience in a clear and concise manner.
  6. That’s it! Keep an eye out for your email with next steps.

6. Quest for Best

quest for the best homepage

Quest for Best provides mystery shop opportunities in over 40 states in the US. If you are articulate and motivated when it comes to shopping, Quest for Best wants you on their team. It’s completely free to sign up!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click the Become a Shopper link
  2. Fill out the Online Shopper Profile
  3. If there is a job in your area, Quest for Best will give you the info for the shop. If not, they’ll store your profile until a shop is available for you.

7. IntelliShop

intelli shop homepage

IntelliShop serves an extensive list of over 50 industries, so you’re bound to receive mystery shops that interest you. It’s free to sign up, of course. Sign up to see what IntelliShop has in store for you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click the button that says “Go” on the Shopper Sign Up page
  2. Enter your email
  3. Read the independent contractor agreement
  4. Add your basic personal information, including your bank details (if you want to get paid)
  5. Complete the demographic questionnaire
  6. Enter your tax information
  7. Agree to the terms and contract
  8. Start making money!

8. Perception Strategies, Inc.

perception healthcare mystery shopping company

Perception Strategies, Inc. focuses on healthcare mystery shops. They’ve performed over 150,00 healthcare mystery shops since 1998.

This mystery shopping company focuses on giving healthcare providers the feedback they need to make their patients’ experience the best possible. Interested in becoming a mystery shopper for Perception Strategies, Inc.?

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click “Shopper Application” in the top menu bar
  2. Check out the list of immediate openings
  3. If your location does not have an immediate opening, you’ll be notified of any that come up once your application is on file.
  4. Fill out all information in the application and submit.

9. Sinclair Customer Metrics

sinclair customer metrics homepage

Since 1987, Sinclair has helped thousands of businesses improve their overall customer experience. They offer a wide variety of tasks, from video secret shops to telephone mystery shops.

Here’s how it works:

  1. To sign up with Sinclair, enter your name and email
  2. Review the Information for Mystery Shoppers document
  3. Read and agree to the Independent Contractor agreement
  4. Fill out the Secure Online Application
  5. Take the Sinclair New Shopper Challenge
  6. Take the New Shopper Survey
  7. Welcome aboard to mystery shopping with Sinclair!

10. Ipsos (formerly GfK)

ipsos international mystery shopping

If you live outside the US and you’re looking to mystery shop internationally, Ipsos mystery shopping is for you! Your secret shops will be either in person, by phone, through email, or using web chat. Ipsos secret shoppers perform mystery shops ranging from gas stations to banks to restaurants.

Supported countries include:

United States, Canada, Chile, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovakia, United Kingdom, India, Thailand, Oceania, Australia, and New Zealand.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Scroll down and click Want to be a Mystery Shopper?
  2. Select your country
  3. Add your basic personal information and demographic questions
  4. Read the privacy information and agree to the terms
  5. Read the independent contractor agreement and agree to the terms
  6. Click “Sign Up” and you’re in!

11. BestMark

bestmark homepage

BestMark is one of the largest mystery shopper companies. They offer 10,000-plus mystery shop assignments each month covering a variety of industries from restaurants to hotels and resorts. The payment will differ based on the assignment that you choose.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click the “Sign Up Now” button on the right-hand side of their become a shopper page
  2. Add your basic personal information, demographic questions and create a password
  3. You will receive an email within an hour with a link asking you to finish your application
  4. Once your application has been submitted, they will screen it and send a welcoming email if it has been approved

Mystery Shopping Jobs by Phone

If in-person shopping isn’t your thing, or if you don’t have time to visit stores, then secret shopping by phone may be a better fit for you.

12. Call Center QA

Call Center QA works to help organizations improve the quality and helpfulness of their call centers. If you don’t mind chatting on the phone, have excellent reading and writing skills, and an attention to detail, this job is for you! You can complete all your calls from home using your landline or mobile phone.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You must be a resident of the US
  2. Fill out the application including basic information questions, education, a few personal questions to help determine what mystery shops you’d be good for, and how you heard about the company.
  3. Click submit and you’re done! You’ll receive further information once you complete the application

13. ARC Consulting

With ARC, you are paid via PayPal per mystery phone call. How much work and pay you receive depends on how much work they have available at the time.

The application lists the following countries for hiring: United States, Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Enter your payment information for PayPal
  3. Add your login details
  4. Submit

14. Yardi-Matrix

Yardi-Matrix provides a job opportunity for those interested in taking surveys for the commercial real estate industry. If hired, your job is to call apartment communities and ask various questions.

In order to complete the tasks, you’ll need high-speed internet access, a phone, and proper telephone etiquette. You must be willing to play the role of a “renter” when taking surveys for Yardi-Matrix.

How to apply:

  1. Submit a current resume to the Yardi Matrix contact
  2. Here’s where to find more information on how to apply to Yardi Matrix

15. Intelicheck

Intelicheck is looking for motivated mystery shopper with excellent time-management skills. As an Intelicheck mystery shopper, you get to enjoy flexible hours working from the comfort of your own home.

At the moment, Intelicheck is not hiring. But if you fill out an application, they will keep it on file and notify you if further positions open.

How to Avoid Mystery Shopping Scams

Our list of mystery shopping companies only includes legitimate options, so you don’t have to worry about that. However, not all companies are as high caliber, and some are complete scams. Here’s what to watch out for.

Only Choose from a Trusted List Of Mystery Shopping Companies

When searching for reputable mystery shopping companies, make sure you sign up for companies recommended by trusted sources. We always do our homework and research options before recommending a company, so you’re safe with us!

Never Wire Money

If you are asked by a mystery shopping company to deposit a check into your personal account, withdraw the amount of the check in cash, and wire it to a third party, don’t do it. The check is fake, and it’s a scam.

Although the check may look like it went through and the money has appeared in your account, it can take banks weeks to uncover a fake check.

Once the fake check is discovered, you will be responsible for paying back the bank for the amount you deposited and withdrew. Play it safe and never deposit a check from someone you don’t trust if you’re going to wire the money back.

Never Pay in Advance to Become a Mystery Shopper

All of the mystery shopping companies listed above are completely free to sign up, and that’s for a reason.

If you ever come across a mystery shopping company that asks you to pay money to sign up, it’s a scam. Avoid it like the plague. You should never have to pay money to sign up, period.

Find Your Ideal Mystery Shopping Niche

As you can see, the sky is the limit when it comes to mystery shopping. It’s up to you if you want to stick to one company or try them all!

Once you perform several mystery shops, you’ll realize which secret shops come naturally to you and are the most enjoyable to complete. You may find that some aren’t worth your time, while others hardly feel like work.

When you become more comfortable in your mystery shopping niche, you’ll be completing jobs right and left and raking in the dough. Good luck mystery shoppers!

Related: 18 Ways You Can Get Paid to Shop for Others

Meredith Helm

Meredith is the founder of Write Your Story: a blog focused on her passion of living a healthy and budget friendly lifestyle. When she's not blogging, you can find her teaching, whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, or exploring the great outdoors with her husband.

Ruth Ann
Ruth Ann

I got a certified check from the company, “A Closer Look. Llc.” They want me to deposit the check, wait for it to clear & then take out the amount needed for 2 MoneyGrams. Whatever is left, is my payment, which is like $360. Can you tell me if this is legit or if the company is? Thanks!

Definitely sounds shady. I wouldn’t do it.


That is a common strategy for money scams. Definitely DO NOT do it. No way!


No reputable company will ask you to deposit checks/money orders into your personal bank account. Doing so and then withdrawing all or only part of those “funds” to send to someone else leaves you holding the bag when the check/money order fails to clear your bank. That usually takes anywhere from 3 to 10 days. Then the check bounces…your account is now overdrawn and the bank will come after you for the overdrawn balance plus overdraft fees.

James McManemon
James McManemon

Hi Ruth Ann,

I am the Director of New Business Development for A Closer Look. In response to your Comment about A Closer Look wanting you to deposit a check, you were communicating with a Scam company masquerading as A Closer Look, not the actual company A Closer Look. ***You should not deposit the check.

We do not ask shoppers to pay A Closer Look any amount of money upfront, during or after becoming a mystery shopper.


Hey James,

Thanks for the heads up. Much appreciated.

– Ben


This is a form of money laundering and is illegal. Stay far, far away from these because it will be you who takes the fall for it.

Gen May
Gen May

I was mailed a large check with instructions to deposit the check into my account, and buy $800 worth of iTunes cards from 2 different stores. It said to scratch the back of the card and sent the pin along with pictures of the card with my phone and send them the pictures.

The instructions mentioned to write an evaluation of the 2 stores I go to, and that I can keep the the remaining money I did not spend.

Is this a scam?

100% a scam. Don’t do this.


I did mystery shopping from 2008 to around 2011/2012. A Closer Look is one of the companies I shopped for. NONE of the companies I worked with gave requests like the ones you received. I’m not sure what that’s about. Perhaps contact them for clarification. I’m thinking this is a scam using a legitimate company name, although I’m not 100% sure.


Scammers use the names of legitimate mystery shopping companies so that when the recipients of their phony checks do a search for them, they come up with the real company and are reassured. But the real company did not send you that large check, with instructions to buy gift cards, or money orders, or whatever. Real mystery shopping companies don’t operate that way. A scammer sent you the check. If you deposit the check and follow the instructions you will lose a lot of money. More than that, your bank may close your account and you could have trouble opening a new account at another bank. This scam is so prevalent because so many people fall for it. Every company listed in this article is legit, but none of them will send you a check for work you haven’t done yet. You are warned. Don’t be one of those who cash the check and follow the instructions because you want or need the check to be real. You will be very, very sorry you did.



I have applied at this site “wmfunshopper” through LinkedIn. The site looks legit but I cant seem to find anything out about it outside of this website. I haven’t received the envelope yet but its coming.

“You will receive an envelope next week containing a Cashier’s Check,Instruction Letter and Assessment Form.”

Does this seem like a scam to you?

This sounds like a scam. I just checked out the BBB’s website and they do not have good ratings.


I have been a mystery shopper for nearly 25 years and have worked with over 150 mystery shop companies. I will be heading to the west coast soon and there is a VERY popular drive-thru burger restaurant that I would like to evaluate but am not sure which company provides these shops. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.


Is ‘Service Measure’ an accountable site? I’ve got a contact via LinkedIn. Please let me know.

Hey Michelle,

We’re not too familiar with Service Measure — it looks like they’re a small U.K. based that registered their domain in July of 2018 (so still very new). We haven’t tried their service so don’t feel comfortable offering any advice (but we’d suggest proceeding with caution if you do decide to try their service).

Randy Knapp
Randy Knapp

Michelle we got the same check for 2850 to go buy 2 gift cards at the Apple store, I am afraid to deposit the check let me know if you try it.

Hey Randy,

These are almost always scams. Typically the way it works is that the check temporarily clears, the scammer will instruct you to go buy two gift cards that day, and then the check funds are later rescinded by your bank. You then get stuck footing the cost of the gift cards that you bought.


So I was dumb enough to fall for this very scam…now what? I have the “check” that I was sent…I feel like I should change my phone number, my email address…
My husband wants me to notify the sheriff department.

Sorry to hear that Rhonda — scammers are often extremely good at what they do/they can be super convincing. I’m assuming you’re referring to the “big check” scam referenced above? Is it safe to assume you’ve already sent the gift cards? If so, how did you send them and where to?

The devil is in the details and unfortunately your options for recouping the cost are limited. ?


Has anyone ever heard of Actionable Intelligence Delivery? They say it’s a mystery shopper company


Has anyone heard of http://www.business-shoppers.com? I recieved an offer through LinkedIn so applied for it and recieved a text saying that I was accepted and to respond with ACCEPTED and they would send me instructions in the mail in 5 days.


Hi! I tried applying for Mystery Shopper, it’s number one on your list. I took the test and the next page popped up telling me to read it and click ‘I Agree’.
Well this is the 2nd time I’ve tried but there is no box for me to check. I tried finding someway to tell them this but I can’t find a coordinators number, not being a Shopper there yet.
Can you contact them for me? I’m just frustrated.
Thank you

Hey Amanda,

Often issues like this are with browser compatibility — do you have a different browser you could try (like Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.)?


There are so many mystery shopping companies that are legitimate. I’m not saying the one you’ve been trying to reach is not. What I am saying is check into some of the other sites as well, and then in your spare time see if you can find another way to contact this particular company. Just don’t get caught up with one company, because there’s so many great ones! Best of luck to you!


I signed up with the top on the list through the link provided. I did notice that there is a small check box at the bottom of each page before you can continue.

Isaac Moraga
Isaac Moraga

I was recently sent an email from my university and a student had sent this link to apply. The company’s name is PanWays Shoppers, Inc. The check amount was $2450 and it came in a formal United States Postal Service envelope. I haven’t deposited it, waiting to hear if its legit.

Not legit — any sort of large sum deposit promising leftover cash in return for purchased gift cards is not legit.



Large Check Scam > I should have done my research ahead of time .

I already talked to the Fraud department at my bank to flag the check and ensure I can recoup my lose. Most Banking institutions will help cover the fraud costs – so make sure to be up front with your bank, and have them go through the proper steps.


Jess – I had the same offer a couple of weeks ago – I thought I was putting in my contact details to get more information but they said I was accepted. I now believe it is a scam because I can’t find anything about the company. I forgot about it until I just received a text saying welcome and first task will be mailed to me and that I can accept the job by replying to the text. I am not going to reply and just see what is sent – I’m guessing I will be tossing it in the garbage.


I too just received a large sum of money from Panways Shoppers. However I have not deposited anything and had no intentions of using my personal bank account. After comments above and it’s said to be scam what should I do now. Can I just destroy this fake cashiers check or return it.? Thanks


Thanks so much for this list!


No company that sends large amount of checks to purchase items is legit. I too recently received a check for $2400 from AlaskaUSA federal credit union for same. Called bank and they said it’s not real and actually directed me to the FBI as the cashiers check has a persons name and phone number on it! Be careful people.


I was recently sent an email from my university to apply to become a mystery shopper.

I did that before the deadline, and after a few days I received a message that my application was successful.

The company’s name is consumer survey service. The check amount was $2915 and it came in a formal United States Postal Service envelope. I was given instruction to buy 2 Apple store gift cards for $1250 each, to scratch them, and send them the numbers. They’d then let me keep $300 and $50 bonus if I do it within two days.

I never deposited the check (I have the check with me today as I write this) and I just called the bank and the bank told me that is it a fake check (NSWS Federal Credit Union in Dahlgren, VA). I have decided that I will shred it and throw it away.

Liz Sergent
Liz Sergent

I replied to an email sent on my college email. Recently I have been getting emails saying I’ve been approved as a mystery shopper.

Today in a US Postal priority 2-day (7.95 to mail) envelope, I received three money orders from People First Credit Union for $995.00 each.

The instructions said “Congratulations on receiving your first survey packet.” They then placed payment restrictions on the money orders saying to deposit them into an active checking account and to text them as soon as the deposit is made. Then, within 48 hours purchase, buy (5) $500.00 gifts card, text them a picture of the receipt (along with the gift cards scratch off numbers), and then I can keep $400.00.

I’m trying to decide if I should take this mess to my local police department or shred?

It almost certainly a spoofed email/not actually being sent from your school. It’s not legit and you should shred it (and report it if there is any easily identifiable information on it (but most likely there will not be)).

Ron Martini
Ron Martini

By the looks of this thread there are a lot of scammers using mystery shopping as a way to find people to scam.

That is sad to see as mystery shopping is a legit way to make extra money.

I’ve worked for over 20 different companies and haven’t been ripped off yet. You sign up and instantly have access to a job board. No waiting for instructions in the mail.

There are 100’s of jobs available but you aren’t going to get rich.

My average is $15.00 per job. There are jobs that pay a small fee and reimburse you for purchases like food or items you buy.

There as also jobs that pay $55.00 to $85.00 per job. I use GigSpot, IntelliShop, Bare International, BestMark, and ath Power. Give one or all of them a shot.


It sounds like you are beyond happy with the sites that you use. By any chance do you have anymore that you would care to share? I am a mommy to two absolutely gorgeous princesses, but anybody who has princesses already knows how expensive they can be. Lol.


Ron is right! Best of his are Ath and Bare (Ath has mostly banks shops that are higher paying and BARE has a HUGE variety of shops, plus revealed shops like exit interviews, demos, etc).


I have been mystery shopping for 5 years and just keep increasing the amount of companies I work for. It helps to know if you are in the USA or other a different country. I live in Canada and there are some companies that just have mystery shops for Canada and some that just have for the USA. I am guessing it is that way with some of the other countries as well. I have found many companies do several countries.

Jim P
Jim P

Can you tell me if MIS Group is legitimate?
Received 3 personal money orders for $995.00 each.
Buy Apple gift cards for $1,200.00 and $1,400.00 keep 300.00 then text 845-232-0571 after purchase for additional instructions how to complete the 2nd task with the gift cards. Says do not wire any money to any mystery shopper or mail any purchased merchandise to anyone.
All purchased merchandise will be picked up by our verified agent at the Apple Store.
On the back is an assessment form.

Not legitimate — any offer that requires large sum gift cards to be purchased, sent to a dubious number, and then you get to net the difference is almost certainly a scam.

– Ben


I just got the same thing! I was recommended by an acquaintance on LinkedIn. However, now her profile is gone; I think she was hacked!


I just got the same thing by MIS Group. Stupid me got excited and deposited the money. I havent done any purchases. Will I be able to tell my bank not to process the checks?

The bank will likely process the checks like they would any other check — but you’ll likely get a notification (via phone, email, text, etc.) that the check did not clear. Definitely stay in a holding pattern/don’t act on their instructions until you hear from your bank.



I was also referred to a mystery shopping company MIS group…

For starters, I was contacted via text, and then I received 3 checks in the mail for $995.00 with instructions about going to a particular store and wait for further instruction…

It just seems odd to me. They instruct you to get gift cards.

Yeah, definitely not legit.

Entire websites exist as a front to collect private information from people so they can solicit them with other (often scam) offers. Where sleazy fringe companies try to emulate legitimate ones, it’s important to do your homework on specific companies before engaging in work with them.

Carolyn Burt
Carolyn Burt

It appears many are getting the big checks from sites finding them on linked in.

I did NOT apply for anything and got the $2985.00 from a credit union. Return on the address envelope is someone in Desoto, TX (guess they felt I would feel safer) and the whole mess is from something called MIS Group, with Mary Smith as the survey agent.

Since I did not even apply for this I decided to go on a secret search for the MIS Group here online. Glad I ran into this page, very informative. Thanks again.


Have you ever heard of KSS International? I was sent instructions and a check. I looked them up and it seems legit, but now after reading here I’m not so sure.

I didn’t do anything with it yet because I’ve been trying to make sure this is safe to do. I’m very uncomfortable doing any kind of banking transactions with unknown sources.


Previously one of the mystery shopping companies posted that scammers will take on legit company names and change it a bit so you will be fooled. I have worked for the legit KSS with no problems, you got the imitation company to scam you.


I have shopped for years! Closer Look is a real company but the check you got is not from the legit Closer Look company. Mystery Shopping companies do not send you money to get you to shop. You must apply on their website. They do not reach out to you at all in fact. I find legit companies through those certified by the MSPA certification.


Do all companies require you to have a PayPal account in order to receive your payments?

While PayPal is one option, many/if not all companies pay via Check as well (so having a PayPal account is not necessarily required, although convenient).


Hi! I’m new to mystery shopping, and Market Force got a good review from you and elsewhere.

I signed up, but the site starts you at Level 1 and recommends the following: “To increase your Shopper Level and gain access to more shop types we will need to know a bit more about you.” It asks for basics like address and phone number, but also bank information for direct deposit and social security number.

As I have no experience with this company and cannot see any jobs available, I’m hesitant to provide my banking information before I can see any jobs that are available. Do you have any feedback about this company’s legitimacy regarding the direct deposit situation?

Thanks so much for your help!

Hey Lee!

Hope you’re well. Market Force is a legitimate company with an A+ rating with the BBB. You can read more about their BBB review here.

An A+ rating is somewhat hard to achieve, and typically reserved for companies that have a documented history of addressing consumer/employee complaints appropriately (among consistently conducting ethical business practices).

Hope that helps with your question.
– Ben


Hey guys! FYI, if you are looking for a legitimate mystery shopping company, I would recommend BestMark.

I began performing mystery shops for them back in September of 2018 and have made close to $1,000. You can do physical mystery shops, web shops, or even telephone shops. The web shops and the telephone shops don’t pay as much of course but the more you do the more the money adds up.

BestMark pays you twice a month and you can set up to have it deposited straight into your PayPal account!

Thank you for the heads up Casie, we’ve recently updated the post and included them on our list!


My BEST (mix of high paying and lots of shops):

  • Ath (mostly banks shops that are higher paying)
  • BARE usually has a HUGE variety of shops
  • SeeLevel
  • Shopper’s View
  • iSecretShop
  • RBG
  • SecretShopper
  • Second to None
  • Merc (lots of fast food)
  • A Closer Look (lots of finer dining)

Apps for phone:

  • Best, hands down, is Merchandiser! Demos, surveys, audits, resets, routes, and more!
  • Easy Shift is good
  • Field Agent is decent
  • Gigwalk is hit or miss

Does your experience show Swift Solutions Inc. to be a reputable mystery shopping company?

Hey Vicki,

I’m not familiar with Swift Solutions and it doesn’t appear they have an established web presence.

Their website has some red flags/warning signs at first glance as well. It’s incomplete/clearly unfinished, and their social profiles don’t exist.

That’s probably an opportunity I’d stay away from.

– Ben


When you sign up to be a shopper how are you paid? Do they take taxes out or are you responsible for that?

Most will pay monthly via check, although allow cash outs to popular e-wallets like PayPal and Venmo. You operate as a 1099 contractor for these companies, which generally means you’re responsible for withholding and paying your own taxes on earned income. (Companies will generally issue a 1099-MISC once you have reached a certain threshold in income — typically $600).

Ernest Vogt
Ernest Vogt

Has anyone heard of Gaud Dens LLC @ 1450 Post Street, San Francisco.
I received a check for $3450.00 and was instructed to buy 6 x $500 Walmart Gift cards. A bonus if I do it within 12 or 24 hours. Sounds like a scam to me. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Looks like those addresses come back as luxury apartments. I’d definitely stay away/it does sound like a scam.

Diane Kotsaftis
Diane Kotsaftis

I would like to know if TimeCodesurveyonline LLC is a legitimate secret shopper company.

I was also asked to deposit a check for $1890. (And then was told to withhold my $300 as a commission.) I was then supposed to buy a $ 1500 Apple gift card, text a picture of the receipt, and peeled off gift card to a number. Please advise.

This is a common method of scamming people and is not legit.

Kent Mader
Kent Mader

I received a certified check (to deposit) from MacroMill Group along with an Assessment form to shop at Apple and purchase gift cards. Sounds like a scam. Thoughts?

Agreed — anytime a company asks you to purchase a gift card(s) and send them the code — in exchange for keeping some amount of money, it’s generally a scam.

William R Painter
William R Painter

“Sprout Shopper” sounds fishy as they ask for very similar things. Legit?

Likely not legit.
– Ben

Robert J Beard
Robert J Beard

There used to be a site called volition.com. It was a great site, and used to have hundreds of sites to sign up for. It had been up for over 10 years. I have not been able to access it anymore. Now it is a cancer site. That was a great site to find shopper companies. Does anyone know what happened to them or are they at another location?

Rebecca Herrera
Rebecca Herrera

I received a text for Mystery Shopping, and then I received a check in the mail for $1,870.10 (Wells Fargo Bank) with no letter and no explanation what check was for (from Signals Services, PO Box 555, San Francisco, CA 94104). I was going to return it since I didn’t know what check was for.

Then I received an email telling me to deposit the check, keep $350.00, and go to Walmart or Best Buy and purchase 3-$500.00 gift cards. The email then said to take pictures of the cards and email back to them.

Since I didn’t respond right away, I received a text from [REDACTED] (I know numbers starting with 011 are out of the country.) Wells Fargo check has the name and address [REDACTED] but nothing matches when I look it up.

Definitely a scam — ignore!

– Ben


Is Wesley Freelance Shopper a legitimate company? I have tried to do a search on them and nothing comes back. The email came from survey monkey and I have not filled it out yet. Just curious if anyone has heard of this company?

I did some preliminary research with that exact company name/spelling and nothing came up — it’s probably a scam, for what it’s worth.

– Ben


Has anyone heard of Shoppers Paid?
I have only just signed up and haven’t received a confirmation email or any information yet. Just curious if anyone has heard or dealt with this company before.

Abbey Riker
Abbey Riker

Has anyone heard of “Invictus Research LLC”? I randomly received an email looking for mystery shoppers through my school account and decided it wouldn’t hurt to sign up. Today, I received a check for $2,350 to buy $2000 worth of Best Buy gift cards that I would then use to purchase items in the next task, and the $350 would be my pay. I’m hesitant to deposit the money into my account and they have a website, but I can’t find anything else on them so I don’t know if they’re legit or not. Thanks!


It’s a scam. Don’t deposit the check. Legitimate mystery shopping companies do not pay large sums in advance.

Jeanie Herndon
Jeanie Herndon

Just signed up with Elite CX Solutions and was accepted. I can’t find much feedback on this company and want to know if it is legit.


Know anything about Secret Customer? They sent a check asking to deposit etc. which I did not seeing that it was a scam.

Now there is an offer from Mystery Shoppers through Field Agents Ink to make money by printing payroll for that company requiring purchase of specific check paper and mailing them out. The purchase and specific ink would be reimbursed. But I would have to be paid through PayPal. I informed him of the check from Secret Customer scam, he thought the check might have been just cancelled and “probably not a scam”? He knew the name listed on the info from that scam check.

Are Mystery Shopper and Field Agents Ink legit? Or does this all seem fishy?


I’m very nervous about giving my social security number to these companies. If we are “contractors”, do they really need our SS#? They won’t be paying our taxes anyhow.

If the company you’re thinking about working for is legitimate, they’ll need your social security number to file a 1099-MISC if your wages exceed $600, even if you’re just a contractor. Most companies will ask for this prior to issuing wages. In short, it’s normal for legitimate companies to ask for it, but it’s also a easy target for potential scammers (hence why it is so important to do your due diligence on the company before getting started).


I also received a check for $2,985 and an assessment form with instructions to visit an Apple Store and to purchase two gift cards for $1,300 each. I believed that everything was legit and deposited the check; but after I had done that, I started doing some research and realized it was all a scam.

I contacted the bank and alerted them that the check was most likely fraudulent, which they confirmed by contacting the bank whose name was on the check (Primeway Credit Union) and verifying that the account did not exist. The company supposedly submitting this form is MarketVision Research LLC. The phone #s of the person sending the texts are 305-515-5993 and 305-849-1534. His Name is Ronald Gibbs.

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