How can I tell if a shop offer is legit?

Unfortunately, the mystery shopping industry has been victimized by scammers who pose as mystery shopping companies.  Mystery shopping attracts many people who are eager (sometimes desperate) to find part-time work, and who are often vulnerable to scams that take advantage of their inexperience and willingness to believe claims of huge earnings, easy work and no experience required.  

If you think a JobSlinger job is a scam, we want to know!  Please contact our support department at with details.  

How to spot a scam

The good news is that these scams are easy to spot and avoid.  Here are some red flags to watch out for:
  • Check cashing or money order purchase. Any time you are asked to cash a check or money order and send back a portion of it, it's a scam. The check will bounce and the scammer will have YOUR money. 
  • Unsolicited contact or job offers from a company you've never worked for. There are many legitimate ways to receive email notifications about mystery shopping jobs (JobSlinger ReachOut and SlingMe emails, SASSIE email shop offers), but ALL of them identify themselves -- you will never get an email from JobSlinger or SASSIE that is not identified as such, and you will never get any of these emails unless YOU signed up for the service. If you get an unsolicited job offer email, and you don't know the sender, be wary of scams.  Even if they give you the name of a legitimate mystery shopping company, be careful - scammers have often been known to impersonate legitimate companies. Be especially careful with phone calls from people claiming to be schedulers.  A scheduler may call you about a shop that you have already applied for, or may call shoppers who have worked for them before if they have a shop that they need to fill.  If you get a call from an unknown company, it's probably a scam.
  • Being asked to pay to get hired as a shopper. Any company that asks for payment before they will hire you is a scam.  
  • Being asked to pay to view a list of shops or mystery shopping companies. You should never have to pay to see available shops.
  • Being asked to pay for a non-MSPA certification. The MSPA's certification program is industry-recognized and provides real benefit to certified shoppers, who can present standardized credentials. Other certification programs do not carry this recognition and are most likely scams.
  • Newspaper ads. Mystery shopping companies use the internet to reach prospective shoppers, not newspaper ads.

How can you verify if a contact or offer is genuine?

  • See if the company is a legitimate mystery shopping company. You can search the MSPA member companies at Not every legitimate mystery shopping company belongs to the MSPA (particularly if they're small and just starting out), but it's a good indicator. NOTE: scammers sometimes pose as a known legitimate company -- so if you're given the name of a legitimate company, but the deal still seems shady, don't trust it!
  • Contact the company yourself.  If you're given the name of a legitimate company, look up their contact information on the internet and contact them directly yourself, to ask if the offer is valid.  If they say they've never heard of it, congratulations -- you've just avoided being scammed!
  • Ask other shoppers. Mystery Shop Forum ( is a great place to ask other shoppers about their experiences with companies, and get their take on whether an offer sounds legit.

What should you do if you think you've been targeted by a scam?

  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at The FTC investigates abuse and works to shut down scammers.
  • Post your findings on Mystery Shop Forum  ( to warn other shoppers.
  • Make sure that your personal information is secure. It is very easy for scammers to obtain your email address, so just getting a scam email doesn't mean that the scammer has any other information about you -- but they could get it, if you use easily guessed passwords for your online accounts. To be on the safe side, check any online accounts that use that email address and make sure that you have set good passwords -- longer passwords that don't consist of real words, that contain both letters and numbers, and that don't follow a pattern. If a scammer has your email address, make sure that they can't use it to log into your accounts with an easily guessed password!

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