Unfortunately, there are a lot of email scams involving Mystery Shopping assignments. There is no way to prevent these but they should be reported to your local law enforcement agency.
How to spot a scam
- All emails from us come from addresses ending in @retail-maxim.co.uk. If someone contacts you from a different address, it isn’t us
- Genuine companies will use a company email address. If someone contacts you from an account with Hotmail or Gmail (or similar) they are unlikely to be a genuine company
- We only send emails to shoppers who have registered with us. If you didn’t register on our database, we won’t email you
- We always speak to our shoppers every time that we offer them an assignment
- We do not pay our shoppers through Western Union, and we never ask them to transfer money with Western Union
- If you are asked to bank a cheque, it’s likely to be a scam
- No genuine mystery shopping company would trust someone they don’t know with a large sum of money as an advance. If you are contacted and offered a large payment in advance, this is likely to be a scam
- If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably will be. Mystery shopping does not normally pay large amounts. If you are offered £100 to conduct a basic enquiry it is very unlikely to be a genuine assignment
- If you apply for non mystery shopping work on a job site and are then told that the vacancy is filled but there is mystery shopping work available as an alternative, this is likely to be a scam.
Here are a couple of links which give a bit more information on such scams:
http://www.mysteryshoppersmanual.com/category/mystery-shopper-scam (a USA-based site but a lot of the information applies to the UK too)
In the UK, all internet scams/attempted scams should be reported to Action Fraud, the national fraud and internet crime reporting centre: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/