How to avoid mystery shopping scams

How to avoid mystery shopping scams

With so many scams flying around, and many looking authentic, how do you know if you are being scammed or not as a mystery shopper? We share our tips and industry news to ensure you avoid falling into the trap and how to spot a genuine mystery shopping opportunity.

If something sounds too good to be true, more often than not, it is. If an assignment sounds a little too good, stay alert and check its authenticity before signing up.

What does MSL do?

We only send emails to mystery shoppers that have signed up with us. We never contact people unsolicited. Genuine companies will use a company email address like we do. If it’s from an account such as Hotmail or Gmail, it’s unlikely to be authentic. You can check the email address by clicking on the From address which is usually shown between these: <>. 

Phishing emails (scams designed to get your information) may only have your email address and not your name, so check how the email is addressed to you. We will sometimes address emails to your name and others just saying “hello” or “hi there”.

We will never ask for your bank or payment details over email. If you are registered with us, only you can add your payment info in the Shopper Portal. If you think you’ve received a scam email, forward it to our team at and if it’s verified as a scam, we’ll add the sender to a known scams list.

Genuine MSL assignments will always carry a briefing and each shop has a dedicated contact for help and advice.

Research the company

Check that the company is who they say they are by opening up a separate Internet browser window or tab. Never click on any links in the email. Use a search engine to research the company. If they are scammers, this will usually appear in the search results. Mystery Shoppers Ltd are part of the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association (MSPA). You can check their full list of members on their website here. The MSPA is a great resource for scam articles too, such as Scam Alerts.

Never share your payment information

Common scams will say that you owe money with an invoice attached or ask you to follow a link to add your payment details. If you are asked to bank a cheque or make an upfront payment or deposit as part of a mystery shop, this is also likely to be a scam. Remember that companies will never ask you to pay to carry out work, unless a reimbursement is specified. Never trust companies that send emails offering to send money or cheques BEFORE an assignment is completed. Trusted companies will always pay you afterwards.

Be social media savvy

Beware of friend requests and private messages on social media which appear to be asking if you’d be available for a mystery shopping assignment, but also trying to collect your personal details.

Common scams to be aware of

“Earn £££’s by mystery shopping!” – Mystery shopping with MSL is a great way to earn a bit of extra cash in your pocket, but our assignments specifically are not designed to replace a full time, or even part time, job. Whilst some assignments can offer great perks and rates of pay, you aren’t likely to become rich by doing it. If you come across a company offering to help you earn thousands of pounds, do your research before you sign up.

“Pay us to find you the best mystery shopping assignments” – They’ll tell you they’re saving you time by researching the best assignments, when in fact it’s too good to be true. Finding assignments should be quick and easy to do yourself. MSL shops can be found by logging into the Shopper Portal website or App, or by assignment emails that we send to you.

Final tip of the day… If you aren’t sure if an email, message or any communications is genuine, don’t sign up to it. Stop, think and check before you commit. 

If you receive an email that looks like it’s from us but doesn’t quite look right, please do contact our team separately, either by email or by telephone: 01409 255025, Option 2.

If you have encountered any scams, we’d love to hear from you. Email us with your experiences or share on our social media pages and group.

For more tips and advice on mystery shopping make sure you follow us on social media.





Scroll to Top