Lots of the reader questions I get via email have to do with mystery shopping and so I decided to put together a post highlighting some of these FAQ’s!
Question #1: Do you have to pay to sign up for mystery shopping?
Answer: No, NEVER. Do not pay to sign up with a company, they should be paying you!
Question #2: I got an email asking me to accept an assignment to cash a large check and then wire the money out of the country. Is this a scam?
Answer: YES, this is a scam. I stay away from any check cashing shops as most are scams, especially if the assignment is received in an email from a company you are not signed up with. If it sounds too good to be true (i.e. you earn $500 for just cashing a check) then it probably is!
Question #3: I’ve never mystery shopped before but I want a free cruise as my first shop. Is this feasible?
Answer: NO! You’ll need to become an experienced shopper and really prove yourself to the companies you work with before they will give you the more lucrative paying assignments.
Question #4: Do I have to pay anything OOP (out of pocket) when I mystery shop?
Answer: It depends on the assignment. For a restaurant or retail store where you are being reimbursed for purchases then most likely yes. There are some shops that are fee only like a car dealership and those you wouldn’t have to pay OOP. Read your shop assignment carefully before accepting the assignment if this concerns you.
Question #5: Do I have to claim the money I make mystery shopping on my taxes?
Answer: I am not a tax expert so you’ll need to consult one to answer this question. Generally, ANY money you earn, regardless of the source is taxable, no matter how much money it is.
Question #6: How do I find out which companies have shops in my areas?
Answer: You won’t know until you sign up. You sign a confidentiality agreement with each company so you can’t tell people who they shop for. You’ll need to sign up with as many companies as possible to have the best selection of shops.
Question #7: Why do they need my social security number?
Answer: Because they need to report your earnings to the government just like any employer. If they didn’t collect this information then they wouldn’t be legit.
Question #8: Where do you find the companies you sign up with and how do you know they are legit?
Answer: I use the forums at Volition and also look for companies who are members of the Mystery Shoppers Providers Association. I also google the name of the company to see what people are saying.
Question #9: How do you know when shops are available in your area?
Answer: I check many companies job boards online every day to make sure I don’t miss any shops. Some companies release shops once a month and you get to know when the release date is. Other companies send emails when shops are available, it depends on the company.
Question #10: What do you think are 3 necessary traits for a mystery shopper?
Answer: Responsible, discreet and flexible
Check out my posts on mystery shopping for more information!
Check out HOT Amazon deals on your favorite items!