When we think about the concept of a ‘mystery shopper’ we often have an image of going into shops or restaurants and getting goodies for free and being paid for the pleasure. There is an air of excitement about being a mystery shopper and people do genuinely work in the area of customer satisfaction research, checking out customer experiences. This week’s scam offers a lucrative position as a mystery shopper. I have received a number of these scams in the last few weeks, all offering financial rewards for shopping – all I have to do is provide some personal data.
This week’s mystery shopper scam has some stark differences when compared with some of the other scams I’ve talked about over the last few months:
What is different from the other scam emails?
- They are NOT based on a well-known brand. The emails are generic and use phrases like ‘Mystery Shopper’ to entice you in.
- The scam emails do not have any links to click on; instead, they require a reply action to send them your personal data.
What they do have in common:
- They use a financial reward of several hundred dollars (the email is obviously meant for a U.S. audience, hence the USD offer). However, watch out for similar GBP-based scam emails.
- They ask you to give them your personal data (phishing) to apply for the job of mystery shopper:
- The language used in the email body was poorly executed. For example,
“18 Years Can speak local language well
No experience needed like shopping”
This scam is not the most sophisticated scam email I have seen. However, mystery shopper scams work, and they have been operating in various guises for many years. If you reply to a mystery shopper scam and send over your personal data, that data will be used to commit fraud in your name. There were over 1 million cases of fraudulent financial transactions in the UK in the first half of 2018 with £358 million in losses. If you hand over your personal data to scammers you could end up as yet another fraud statistic.
Needless to say, never, ever send personal data such as name, address, age, etc. to any source unless you are thoroughly happy with their legitimacy.
If you do want to become a mystery shopper, do your research first.
If you receive a mystery shopper scam email and are concerned, you can report it to Action Fraud, The National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.
Example of a Mystery Shopper Scam email
Why not help your colleagues stay safe and send them this little reminder. Feel free to edit, copy/paste the advice below:
The Mystery Shopper Scam
Look out for a suspicious email which offers financial rewards for becoming a mystery shopper.
The email will ask for various personal details, including name, address, age, etc.
The email is a scam and sending any personal data to the scammer will likely result in your details being used to commit fraud.
If you receive an email like this and are concerned, you can report it to Action Fraud, The National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.
Don’t forget to share this with your colleagues and friends and help them stay safe.
Let’s keeping breaking scams!