29 Best Mystery Shopper Jobs and Companies to Work For

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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 are doing to earn extra money each month.

The companies that pay these “mystery” shoppers need feedback for their business, and they pay mystery shoppers to collect it.

What Is a Mystery Shopper?

A mystery shopper is a person who’s paid to act like a regular, everyday shopper, and 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 (e.g. an oil change).

After the tasks have been completed, the mystery shopper reports feedback on things like the store’s cleanliness, the employees’ helpfulness, 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: 17 Best Sites for Taking Paid Surveys

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

Becoming a mystery shopper is simple. All you do is sign up with the best mystery shopping companies in your area, choose your tasks or assignments, and start shopping.

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

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.

29 Best Mystery Shopping Companies to Work For

Need money now and wondering where to find the best mystery shopper jobs nearby? Check out these companies.

1. Ath Power Consulting

Ath power consulting

Some mystery shopping companies have a wide variety of gigs, while others focus on a certain niche. Ath Power Consulting focuses on the financial and banking industry.

If you complete a mystery shopping gig for them, you’ll likely have to go into a bank and describe your experience. They also have some jobs that involve going into an airport; these are only available if you already have security clearance.

Ath Power Consulting is a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) and is an Elite Member for the fifth consecutive year. Their website says they offer more than 10,000 mystery shopping jobs a month and have more than 500,000 mystery shoppers registered.

Unlike some other mystery shopping companies, ath doesn’t pay out right away. They only pay twice a month instead of immediately following a shopping gig.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to work for Ath.
  2. Create an account using your email address.
  3. Fill in your personal information such as your name, address, and demographic details (i.e. race, income, level of education).
  4. Read their privacy policy.

Related: 11 Best Shopping Apps to Save Money on Everything

2. BARE

bare international

BARE hires mystery shoppers to do in-person, phone, customer chat, or video visits. The company was given a Shopper’s Choice award from the MSPA in 2019.

This award is voted on by people who complete mystery shopping jobs, and it means BARE was one of their favorite companies to work for.

When you sign up to work for BARE, you’ll be able to list five area codes in which you want to mystery shop in. This is helpful if you work and live in different area codes and want to maximize your earnings.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to be a mystery shopper.
  2. Choose your language.
  3. Enter your email address.
  4. Pick your country.
  5. Enter your demographic information.
  6. Read the privacy policy and contract.

Related: 50 Ways to Make Money Online for Free

3. 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 free to sign up, and you set your own hours.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to shop on their website.
  2. Choose your country.
  3. Read and agree to their Shopper Basics rules and guidelines.
  4. Complete the basic certification test that verifies that you read all the rules.
  5. Fill out your personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, etc.
  6. After entering 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 to complete.

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

4. Market Force

market force mystery shopper job

At Market Force, you’ll complete mystery shop requests for banks, restaurants, and stores. You’ll provide feedback for things such as cleanliness, product selection, and customer service.

Market Force has been awarded MSPA Shopper’s Choice Award, voted on by real mystery shoppers, four years in a row.

How it works:

  1. Create a Shopper Force Account.
  2. Answer several questions about your criminal background.
  3. Sign and date the Terms of the Agreement.

Related: 23 Easy Side Hustle Apps to Make Money in Your Spare Time

5. Pinnacle

pinnacle financial strategies homepage

Pinnacle has been around for 20 years. They assist financial institutions by helping them improve 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. A Closer Look

become a mystery shopper with a closer look

A Closer Look has won several awards from the MSPA, including the “Elite Company” award for 2018 and the Shopper’s Choice Award in 2019. They specialize in industries such as restaurants, specialty retail, senior living, hotels, and entertainment.

How it works:

  1. Click the 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 within 48 hours).
  4. You’ll have to fill out personal and demographic information, and write a sample essay with “a minimum of two full paragraphs describing your last casual or fine dining restaurant experience.” This essay will be partially used to determine your eligibility, so try to do a good job on this.
  5. Submit and wait for a response.

7. Quest for Best

quest for the best homepage

Quest for Best provides mystery shopping opportunities in over 40 states in the US, mostly concentrated in the Midwest and Southwest states. You can see their full map here. Their opportunities include things like eating at a restaurant, bowling, and going to a movie theater.

How it works:

  1. Click the Become a Shopper link.
  2. Read the Independent Contractor agreement.
  3. Fill out the Online Shopper Profile, including contact and demographic information such as gender, which languages you speak fluently, if you have camera access to do hidden video shops, and if you have airport security clearance.
  4. If there’s 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 shopping opportunity is available for you.

8. IntelliShop

intelli shop homepage

IntelliShop serves an extensive list of over 50 industries, so you’re bound to receive mystery shopping jobs that interest you.

The company also received a 2019 Shoppers’ Choice Award from the MSPA, as chosen by actual mystery shoppers. This means they voted IntelliShop as one of the best mystery shopping companies to work for.

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 (so you can get paid).
  5. Complete the demographic questionnaire.
  6. Enter your tax information.
  7. Agree to the terms and contract.

9. 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.

Their mystery shopping gigs range from calling a doctor’s office to get a quote for a particular service, doing an in-person visit without making an appointment, or completing a full-length doctor’s visit.

This mystery shopping company focuses on giving healthcare providers the feedback they need to make their patients’ experience the best possible. They have a list of the cities and areas where they need mystery shoppers the most.

How it works:

  1. Visit the Shopper Application.
  2. Check out the list of immediate openings.
  3. If your location doesn’t have an immediate opening, you’ll be notified of any that come up once your application is on file.
  4. Fill out the information in the application such as if you’ve ever had a felony or worked for a healthcare provider, and submit.

10. 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, including video, phone, and in-person mystery shops. Sinclair is a member of the MSPA.

How it works:

  1. To sign up with Sinclair, enter your name and email.
  2. Read the provided Information for Mystery Shoppers document.
  3. Review 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.

11. Ipsos (formerly GfK)

ipsos international mystery shopping

If you live outside the US and are looking to mystery shop internationally, check out Ipsos. 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. You can choose to register for one or both of their platforms — Shopmetrics or Sassie. For even more opportunities, register for both.

Supported countries include:

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

How it works (Shopmetrics):

  1. Sign up here.
  2. Enter your email, country, and ZIP Code.
  3. Enter your address, contact information, and gender.
  4. Fill in more personal details such as height, weight, marital status, occupation, and the type of equipment you have.
  5. Read their agreement.

How it works (Sassie):

  1. Sign up here.
  2. Enter your email address.
  3. Read their contractor agreement.
  4. Fill in the form which asks for contact information, payment method, birthdate, gender, education, and area codes you live in.
  5. Read the privacy policy.

12. BestMark

bestmark homepage

BestMark is one of the largest mystery shopper companies and has been around since 1986. They’re a member of the MSPA and offer 10,000-plus mystery shop assignments each month for restaurants, hotels, and resorts. The payment will differ based on the assignment that you choose.

How it works:

  1. Click the “Sign Up Now” button on the right-hand side of their become a shopper page.
  2. Fill in your basic personal information, demographic questions, work history, ethnicity, and create a password.
  3. Read and agree to the independent contractor agreement, guidelines, and policies.
  4. Once you submit this information, you’ll be able to see which in-person or phone/web mystery shopping gigs are available.

13. Second to None

SecondtoNone

Second to None looks for mystery shoppers for a couple of specific jobs. Right now they’re looking for those who are AARP members or willing to talk to insurance brokers and organizations. Check in often to see when they update their requirements.

How it works:

  1. Apply to be a Second to None mystery shopper.
  2. Fill in your contact information, and create your login.
  3. Submit your application.

14. ACPVIEW

ACPVIEW

ACPVIEW, which stands for a customer’s point of view, does mystery shops for retail, grocery stores, casual and fast food dining options, airports, public transportation, retail banking, and government agencies.

How it works:

  1. Sign up here.
  2. Type in your email address and country.
  3. Read the Services Agreement and Release.
  4. Add your contact and demographic information, and sign the privacy policy.

15. AboutFace

AboutFace

AboutFace has been around for 20 years and is a member of the MSPA. They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and offer mystery shopping jobs in all 50 states. According to the site, they pay 15% more than the industry average, but their rates aren’t clearly stated.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to be an AboutFace Mystery Shopper.
  2. Type in your contact information.
  3. Read the Independent Contractor Agreement.
  4. Wait to verify your email.
  5. Add information such as your PayPal email address, a picture of your driver’s license, a picture of yourself, and answer a few basic questions.

16. Confero

Confero

Confero offers mystery shopping opportunities in food service, retail, banking, automotive, healthcare, consumer products, airports, movie theaters, theme parks, and tourist attractions.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to be a Confero Mystery Shopper.
  2. Type in your email address and select your country.
  3. Read and agree to the Independent Contractor Agreement.
  4. Fill in your contact and demographic information.
  5. Choose which area codes you live and work in. This will determine what opportunities you get.
  6. Read their privacy policy.

17. Amusement Advantage

Amusement Advantage

Amusement Advantage is a mystery shopping company that pays people to mystery shop at amusement parks, bowling alleys, zoos, museums, aquariums, and other popular attractions. You have to be just as detailed-oriented for these gigs, even though they can be more fun than going to a grocery store.

In some cases, you’re only paid via free admission for the mystery shop assignment and free tickets afterwards. You can earn an extra $5 if you fulfill the mystery shop by 10 a.m. the day after your assignment.

You’ll also earn $20 if you refer new mystery shoppers to Amusement Advantage. The downside is that it takes 30 to 45 days to receive payment, which is longer than other companies. Amusement Advantage is a member of the MSPA.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to join Amusement Advantage here.
  2. Create an account.
  3. Fill in your contact information and birthdate.
  4. Read and agree to the Independent Contractor Agreement.
  5. Submit and see which opportunities are available in your state.

18. SeeLevel

SeeLevel homepage

Mystery shoppers who complete gigs for SeeLevel will find opportunities within the fast food, retail, financial services, and automotive industries. If you want to get a free meal while you complete a mystery shopping job, then you should sign up with SeeLevel. Payments are sent via PayPal. 

How it works:

  1. Register with SeeLevel using your email address.
  2. Fill in your contact and demographic information including birthday, gender, household income, height, weight, and area codes near where you live and work.
  3. Read and agree to their privacy policy and Independent Contractor Agreement.
  4. Submit and wait to hear back.

19. Shopper’s View

Shopper's View

Shopper’s View is a founding member of the MSPA and offers mystery shopping opportunities. They offer mystery shopping gigs with food, retail, and even sporting events.

They also offer telephone mystery shopping gigs, which is perfect if you can’t drive or don’t have regular access to a car. Shopper’s View has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

How it works:

  1. Start your Shopper’s view profile.
  2. Select your language.
  3. Type in your email address and choose your country.
  4. Fill in the contact and demographic information.
  5. Read and agree to their privacy policy and Independent Contractor Agreement.
  6. Submit your application.

20. iSecretShop

iSecretShop

iSecretShop is available both as an app and on a desktop browser. If you use the app, you can usually fill in all the required information so you don’t have to type everything in separately on a computer.

You can choose from in-person shops, web and phone shops, and polls. Look through the job board once you’ve registered to see the list of available opportunities.

iSecretShop pays via PayPal.

How it works:

  1. Visit iSecretShop’s site.
  2. Fill in your contact and demographic information including gender, number of children, and address.
  3. Read the Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.

21. RBG

RBG

RBG, or RealityBasedGroup, is a member of the MSPA. They offer video, written, phone, and online mystery shopping opportunities. Some of their clients include Goodwill, Texas Roadhouse, Cinnabon, and SportsClips.

They said other clients include department stores, bookstores, banks, gyms, and restaurants. There’s a wide variety of gigs available, so you’re more likely to find something you enjoy.

How it works:

  1. Register with RBG by filling in your email address and selecting your country.
  2. Read the Independent Contractor Agreement.
  3. Fill in your contact and demographic information.
  4. Read the privacy policy.

22. Mercantile Systems Inc.

Mercantile Systems Inc. is a member of the MSPA. They offer mystery shopping opportunities including restaurants, hotels, storage facilities, golf courses, retail, healthcare, and financial service providers.

They pay within 45 days of the assignment being completed, which is a little longer than normal. Shoppers have 24 hours to complete the assignment.

How it works:

  1. Sign up for Mercantile Systems here.
  2. Type in your contact and demographic information.
  3. Sign the Independent Contractor/Shopper Agreement.
  4. Verify your email address.

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.

23. Call Center QA

Call Center QA

Call Center QA helps organizations improve the quality and helpfulness of their call centers. This company is a good option if you like chatting on the phone and have excellent reading and writing skills and attention to detail.

You can complete all your calls from home using your landline or mobile phone. They pay $5 per call, and each call and feedback form takes around 15 minutes to complete. You’ll receive payment within seven business days.

How it works:

  1. Fill out the application including basic information questions, education, homeownership, if you own or lease a car, and how you heard about the company.
  2. You must be a resident of the US and be at least 18 years old.
  3. Click submit. You’ll receive further information after completing the application.

24. ARC Consulting

ARC Consulting

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

The application says they’re hiring from select countries and looking for people who speak a variety of languages.

How it works:

  1. Complete the online ARC Consulting application.
  2. Enter your contact details, PayPal payment information, gender, and birthdate.
  3. Add your login details and submit.

25. Yardi-Matrix

Yardi Matrix

Yardi-Matrix provides a job opportunity for those interested in taking surveys for the commercial real estate industry. If hired, your job will be to call apartment communities pretending to be a renter. The company will provide you with specific questions to ask.

To complete the tasks, you’ll need high-speed internet access and a phone. You’ll be paid $6 per hour with additional pay as follows:

  • $0.50 for completed surveys
  • $0.30 for surveys with a wrong number
  • $0.20 for partially-completed surveys
  • $0.07 for surveys with an answering machine or no answer

Users must complete 75 surveys the first week and 100 surveys each following week. You’ll have to call between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. in their surveyed time zones.

How it works:

  1. Send a copy of your current resume to the Yardi Matrix contact.
  2. The company will contact you with further details.

26. Observa

Observa

Observa is a mystery shopping app available on both iPhone and Android devices. You have to download the app to receive mystery shopping gigs.

It has a 4.3 rating from the App Store and a 4.4 rating from the Google Play Store. Their official app description says that payments are between $4 and $20. Payment is made within 24 hours via PayPal. You can also choose to be paid in Bitcoin.

27. Field Agent

Field Agent

Field Agent is a mystery shopping app where you can get assignments once you create an account. Previous companies and assignments include AutoZone, Amazon Fresh Pickup, Walmart convenience stores, and Dollar General’s new DGX store.

Field Agent has a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a 4.0 rating on the Google Play Store.

According to the app description, jobs pay between $3 and $20. The app will review photos and descriptions and pay out two days after you submit them.

28. Merchandiser

Merchandiser

Merchandiser is an app available on both iPhone and Android devices. The app has a 4.3 rating on the App store and a 4.1 rating on the Google Play Store. It’s not exactly a mystery shopping app. The gigs available on Merchandiser are more retail-related, like:

  • Restocking shelves
  • Putting stickers on items
  • Counting inventory, or
  • Setting up promotional displays

Download the app, fill in your information, and wait to get gigs in your area. Shoppers are paid via PayPal, and most gigs take about 15 minutes to do.

29. Gigwalk

Gigwalk

Gigwalk is a member of the MSPA, unlike some of the other apps on this list. The app has a 4.6 rating on the App Store and a 3.7 rating on the Google Play Store.

The app pays via PayPal. According to the site, gigs can take between five minutes to several hours and pay between $3 and $100. Not all gigs are mystery-shopping related. They range from taking pictures of a house for insurance purposes to double checking prices at the grocery store.

You can complete assignments straight from the app, so you don’t have to go home and log onto a computer to complete an assignment.

How to Avoid Mystery Shopping Scams

Our list of mystery shopping companies only includes legitimate options. 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.

Check to see if the company is a member of the MSPA. You can find a list of their member companies here. If they’re not on here, check Trustpilot or the Better Business Bureau. If you don’t see any online footprint, then they’re probably not worth doing business with.

Never wire money.

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

The check may look like it’s gone through and the money has appeared in your account, but it hasn’t officially cleared. It can take banks weeks to uncover a fake check.

Once the fake check is discovered, you’ll likely be held 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 know 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 for, and that’s for a reason. If you ever come across a mystery shopping company that asks you to pay money to join, it’s a scam.

Related: 6 Common Work-from-Home Scams to Look Out For

Find Your Ideal Mystery Shopping Niche

Mystery shopping is a fun side hustle because you can often get free food or be reimbursed for buying specific products. If you already work near a mall, shopping plaza, or busy downtown area, then you don’t have to worry about driving around a lot.

Like most side hustle apps and websites, you can sign up with several different mystery shopping companies to maximize your rewards. This also lets you see which have the highest hourly rate and are worth completing.

Because some jobs take longer than others, it can be hard to gauge which companies are better until you’ve had some experience.

Author
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.

88 comments
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, and 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.

Amy
Amy

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

Debbie
Debbie

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.

Best.

Hey James,

Thanks for the heads up. Much appreciated.

– Ben

Angel
Angel

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.

Jacqueline D Glenn
Jacqueline D Glenn

I also received a check which looks legit, but each check has a bank name and address on it. So I Google the bank to get the number and called that bank to ask about the check. The representative immediately told me that she knew exactly what I was calling about regarding the check because there were multiple times at their bank at received information with fraudulent checks being drawn on their branch and that these checks were sent to people all over the USA. She told me that if I did deposit the check it would take the bank weeks to verify that it is a fraud, leaving me with the responsibility of repaying 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 gift cards from 2 different stores. It said to scratch the back of the card, gather the pin, along with pictures of the card, and then send them the pictures.

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

Is this a scam?

100% a scam. Don’t do this.

Macia
Macia

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.

Dave
Dave

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.

Tommy T
Tommy T

Hello,

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

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

Susan
Susan

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-through burger restaurant that I would like to evaluate, but I am not sure which company provides these specific shops. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

Michelle
Michelle

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

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 $2,850 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.

Rhonda
Rhonda

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, etc.

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. ?

Lisa
Lisa

Has anyone ever heard of Actionable Intelligence Delivery? They claim to be a mystery shopper company…

Jess
Jess

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

Amanda
Amanda

Hi! I tried applying for Mystery Shopper (the number one item 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 some way to tell them this but I can’t find a coordinators number (since I’m not 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.)?

Macia
Macia

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 are so many great ones! Best of luck to you!

Amber
Amber

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

Isaac Moraga
Isaac Moraga

I was recently sent an email from a student at my university and it had a link to apply to a company named 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 it’s legit.

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

Scott
Scott

I should have done my research ahead of time but I fell for a scam by a company that went by Panways Shoppers.

I already talked to the fraud department at my bank to flag the check and try to recoup my losses. Most banking institutions will try to help recover lost funds, so be upfront with your bank, and have them go through the proper steps.

Pam
Pam

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 that the 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.

Janet
Janet

I too just received a large sum of money from Panways Shoppers. However, I have not deposited anything and had no intention of using my personal bank account. After the comments above, where it was said to possibly be a scam, what should I do now? Can I just destroy this fake cashier check or should I return it? Thanks!

Nicole
Nicole

Thanks so much for this list!

Tricia Lentz
Tricia Lentz

No company that sends that large of checks to purchase items is legit. I too recently received a check for $2400 (issued by the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union) for the same purposes. I called the bank and they said it’s not real — they then actually directed me to the FBI as the cashiers’ check has a persons name and phone number on it! Be careful people.

Nash
Nash

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 Services.

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 of 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.

Melissa
Melissa

It sounds like you are beyond happy with the sites that you use. By any chance do you have any more 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.

Linda
Linda

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).

Amber
Amber

I have been mystery shopping for 5 years and just keep increasing the number 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?

I received 3 personal money orders for $995.00 each.

I also received instructions to buy Apple gift cards for $1,200.00 and $1,400.00, to keep $300.00 for myself, and then to text 845-232-0571 after purchase (for additional instructions on how to complete the 2nd task with the gift cards). The instructions say to not wire any money to any mystery shopper or mail any purchased merchandise to anyone; that all purchased merchandise will be picked up by our verified agent at the Apple Store.

On the back is an assessment form and that’s it.

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

Diane
Diane

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!

Mily
Mily

I just got the same thing by MIS Group. Stupid me got excited and deposited the money. I haven’t made any purchases. Should I 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.

Don
Don

Hello,

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 LinkedIn.

I did NOT apply for anything and got $2985.00 from a credit union. The return address on the 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.

Maria
Maria

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.

Amber
Amber

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.

Crystal
Crystal

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.

Nancy
Nancy

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).

Lee
Lee

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

Casie
Casie

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!

Linda
Linda

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
Vicki
Vicki

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

Donna
Donna

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 at 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. It 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 $1,500 Apple gift card, text a picture of the receipt, and peel off the gift card to reveal the number. Please advise.

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

Rumel Ramos
Rumel Ramos

I also had a company send me checks for $2430. They had asked me to deposit on my account (but I didn’t). They told me to assess two stores and buy two cards and to send them to them. (The remaining balance will be my commission.) Thankful to have found this community. I almost fall into a scam. My question is do I need to send back the check to the address indicated in the USPS? Many thanks for your warning and advice.

Nope, no need to send it back. It’s a fraudulent check and wouldn’t clear even if you deposited it. If you feel so inclined, you can report the company to the bank that is processing the checks to let them know that the company is running a scam.

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. It 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

Heather
Heather

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

Jennifer
Jennifer

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 $2,000 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!

Dave
Dave

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.
.

Lesa
Lesa

Know anything about Secret Customer? They sent a check asking me to deposit it, which I did, but only because I did not see that it might be a scam.

Now there is an offer from Mystery Shoppers through Field Agents Ink to make money by printing payroll. The company requires the purchase of a specific check paper and then 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 just been canceled 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?

Lynn
Lynn

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).

Eva
Eva

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.

Rogelio Ancheta
Rogelio Ancheta

I received a check for $2,500.00 from GBW Solution. I did not request to join them.

GBW Solutions is a legitimate mystery shopping company, but they won’t send you an unsolicited $2,500 check. It’s a scam, likely from a faux company trying to emulate GBW.

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