Mystery shopping is not a full time job; it is a part time work. People taking up mystery shopping tasks should be careful of their time, money and strength which they put in.

Mystery shopping comes with a lot of opportunities; however, a lot of times mystery shoppers get themselves jumbled in a fraudulent scheme.

So, if you’re working as a mystery shopper or starting to work like one. Always learn the red flags. The main difference to check is if it’s a legal company which is calling a person for mystery shopping. A few signs that you should notice are following:

The Scam of Cheque Cashing

This scam can make people lose large sum of money. It’s one of the most known scam and it is an online scam. This scam can be avoided if you pay a close attention to everything related to the cheque cashing.

Usually mystery shoppers who are beginners are scammed by this fraud. This is how this scam works:

  • The mystery shopper is given the task to evaluate a money transfer service or another financial service.
  •  The mystery shopper then receives a cheque for cash. Their assignment is then to send a part of the money back to the company.
  • The cheque is fictitious and will be canceled after the mystery shopper sends the money. As a result, the shopper remains is left out of pocket.

In order to avoid this scam; as a new mystery shopper do not engage in cheque cashing. You can get into this mystery shopping task if you’ve already worked with the company before on a similar task and have an experience to point out the fraud.

The scam of sign-up:

Becoming a mystery shopper doesn’t require any sort of fee. It doesn’t come with any fee, so if someone asks you to pay a registration fee to sign up then it’s a big red signal that they are a fraud. The scammer company will try its best to convince you that registration fee is legit and they do it for security purposes or to check if you are serious and will not bail out. They can even ask for your certificates if not registration fee so do not give out any important documents or certificates at a random signup for mystery shopper.

How can you spot fraudulent activities by mystery shopping companies?

It’s mystery shopping and not a treasure hunt job, know that if someone is offering hundred thousands of dollars for a tiny task it is a scam. Because nobody would pay 5000$ for a cold call.

People get victimized through emails and advertisements or even false calls at times. Engagement with such offer is not a very smart move – a registered and a licensed company will always follow particular global protocols to hire a mystery shopper.

So remember a few tips so you stay safe from Mystery shopping scam:

  • Google the company’s reviews and complaints against it before signing up.
  • Always remember no mystery shopping company will ask you to pay – because know that no job in the world ask for payment.
  • Don’t pay any company even if they ask you for the security. There is nothing like paying for job security – professional and certified companies will not need you to pay to secure your job.
  • Do not ever sign up for cheque cashing or buying gift cards for a mystery shopping company.

The competition in market for businesses is sky rocketing – each company is ready to compete with the other company. The sustenance of companies is more dependent on their customer experience; since the customers are the real judges of the market competition.

One of the top methods to evaluate the customer experience is mystery shopping. Mystery shopping in UAE and all over the world is now a very common method. What happens in mystery shopping is that a company hires a mystery shopping company for their on ground evaluation- a mystery shopping plans the flow and sends in a mystery shopper,  the mystery shopper observe and records everything necessary for example quality, cleanliness, customer service etc. The mystery shopping company then prepares the report and submits it to the company.

All of the above sounds easy but they are not. Until and unless you plan Mystery Shopping perfectly without any loopholes – you’re safe. But how does one prepare a foolproof plan for Mystery Shopping? Below are the ways you can ideate a fool proof Mystery Shopping plan.

Identify Components.

Identifying components which requires evaluation is the first step towards the creation of a fool proof mystery shopping plan. The main components to identify are:

  • Cleanliness.
  • Brand signs.
  • Display of products.
  • Quality of products.
  • Customer service.
  • Employees’ knowledge.
  • Customers’ guidance.
  • Complaint center.

Questionnaire for Mystery Shopping

The questionnaire is the instrument used by the mystery shoppers to remain organized and keep clear objectives. A questionnaire maintains the quality of the data – the person designing the questionnaire should know that whether they are making a plain questionnaire or including visuals as well.

Target Audience

The target audience can be identified for the purpose of sampling. Both demographic and psychographic characteristics should be considered. In order to make sure that mystery shopper gels in with the regular customers they should have the association with business like any normal client would for example a gift card from that company etc.

Appropriate Frequency

A lot of companies have associates who are trained on how to deal with customers. So the plan should be deigned in the following manner:

  • Assessments should be made at places where employee turnover is high.
  • If a hotel or restaurant is located at places where performance is poor due to local issue assessments may have to be done frequently.

Understanding Industry Culture

Before you start working on the plan you also need to consider that how the industry culture works. For example in restaurant industry during weekdays the lunch hours are booked by the office going people mostly, while on weekend it is crowded with friends and families – so the industry norms are important for mystery shoppers to know.