How to avoid mystery shopping scams at Christmas

How to avoid mystery shopping scams at Christmas

Christmas is a peak time of the year for scammers, and with so many scams flying around, we’ve shared our tips and advice on spotting fraudulent mystery shops from the genuine ones.

What are these scams?

These are a couple of the most common mystery shopping scams, however our advice is to be vigilant as scammers are good at thinking up new ideas! 

“Earn ££££s by mystery shopping!” – Mystery shopping with us is a great way to earn a bit of extra spending money. However, it’s important to note that our assignments at MSL are not intended to serve as a substitute for a full-time or part-time job. While certain tasks come with attractive perks and shopper fees, it’s unlikely that you’ll strike it rich through mystery shopping (we apologise for any dashed millionaire dreams!). If you come across a company offering to help you earn thousands of pounds, make sure to do some research before you sign up with them. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, unfortunately, it probably is! 

“Pay us to find you the best mystery shopping assignments” –  They may claim to save you time by scouting the top assignments out for you, but in reality, locating assignments should be a nice and easy process to do by yourself. You can access our assignments by logging into your Shopper Portal via our website or the MSL Mobile App. Additionally, keep an eye on your emails, as we frequently promote our assignments there too!

Never share your payment information

Navigating the online landscape can sometimes feel like a virtual minefield, especially when it comes to potential scams. It’s crucial to be vigilant and recognise common red flags that could signal fraudulent activities. Beware of messages claiming you owe money, complete with an attached invoice or a request to follow a link for payment details – these are classic scam tactics. Similarly, if a mystery shopping opportunity requires you to bank a cheque or make an upfront payment, exercise caution, as reputable companies typically compensate you after the job is done.

How do you know if it’s really us?

We only send emails to mystery shoppers that have signed up with us. Genuine companies will use a company email address like we do. If a ‘mystery shopping recruitment’ email is from an account… 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: <>. 

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.

Tell us first!
If you think you’ve received a scam mystery shopping email or message on social media, forward it to our team at and we can confirm that it’s a scammer pretending to be us and if it’s verified as a scam, and add the sender to a known scams list.

Other tips…

Research the company

  • Check that the company is who they say they are by opening up a separate Internet browser window or tab. 
  • If you have any doubts, don’t click on any links. 
  • Use a search engine to research a company if you’re unsure. If they are scammers, this will usually appear in the search results. 
  • Refer to the MSPA’s website – 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.
  • Genuine MSL assignments will always carry a shopper brief and each shop has a dedicated contact for help and advice.

Stay safe this Christmas season!

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





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