Thursday, August 5, 2010

Make Extra Money as a Mystery Shopper

Today, I am proud to have a guest post written by Cathy Stucker, author of The Mystery Shoppers Manual. Her site offers a wealth of Mystery Shopping knnowledge that can guide a newbie down the path to becoming a strong Mystery Shopper and prove that Mystery Shopping can be a legit source of  extra income.

“Is mystery shopping a real way to make money, or is it just a scam?”

I get versions of that question all the time. There are scams out there that present themselves as mystery shopping opportunities; however, I have been a mystery shopper since 1995 and I have never been scammed. If you follow two simple rules, you won’t get scammed either.

You won’t get rich mystery shopping, but as a part-time or spare-time shopper you can earn a couple hundred dollars a month or more—maybe a lot more. It is a flexible and enjoyable way to make extra money.

So what is mystery shopping? Mystery shoppers pose as customers and evaluate all kinds of businesses—everything from restaurants to retail to movie theaters, auto dealerships, banks and more. Just about any organization that does business with the public may be mystery shopped, including government agencies.

To get started, sign up with as many legitimate mystery shopping companies as you can. When you get your first assignments, take them seriously and do a good job. That is how you will get more and better assignments.

And how do you know if a company is legitimate? That’s where my two simple rules come in:

Rule #1: Never pay to apply to or “join” any company. Mystery shopping companies do not charge you. The companies that want you to pay are usually not mystery shopping companies.

Rule #2: Never wire money to anyone you do not know. One common scam is to send a check or money order with instructions to “mystery shop” a few places, including wiring money to someone to evaluate the wire service. There are lots of variations on this scam in addition to the mystery shopping version, but the important thing to remember is that this is ALWAYS a scam, no matter what they call it. Sometime after the money is long gone, you will be notified by your bank that the checks were fakes, and you have to repay the money. You should never, ever wire money to a person you do not know for any reason.

Want to know the right way to become a mystery shopper I have lots of free information, including a list of 200 legitimate mystery shopping companies, at my blog,

Cathy Stucker has been a professional mystery shopper since 1995. She is the author of The Mystery Shopper’s Manual, the only book endorsed by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.

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