There are so many legitimate Secret Shopper | Mystery Shopping companies in Australia, however, there are also many scams. This blog should help you to identify the genuine companies from the scams.
There are many ways to check on a Secret Shopper | Mystery Shopping company before you sign up with them and input your personal details, such as your name, address, phone number etc.
One of the best ways to start this process is to Google keywords such as, 'secret shopper' or 'the secret shopper'.
It is highly likely that if a Mystery Shopper/Secret Shopping company is on page one of the unpaid results, not the Google advertisements at the top, and sometimes at the bottom of the page. These ads are supplied by Google and Bing, etc on a pay per click basis, and are used by companies who may not appear on page one of Google, to boost their website traffic.
What you should be looking for are Mystery Shopping/Secret Shopper companies that appear in the Google organic search. To identify paid advertisements is easy, as in the top left corner of the advertisement/Google listing you will see this symbol AD.
If you search the organic (organic, in Google terms means the websites on page one have been selected by Google as the best search result/match for the keyword you typed into your Google browser, providing the most information about your search keyword) an example of this would be to type 'secret shopper' or 'the secret shopper' into any browser, including, Google and Bing.
However, don’t stop there, there are a number of other ways to check out Secret Shopping | Mystery Shopper companies.
You can firstly go to the Australian Government Business Register. This can be searched by ABN, ACN or the business name. One thing to look for here is that the business you are thinking about signing up for is listed, and that they are registered for GST.
Any Australian business must register for GST when their business has a turnover (gross income minus GST) of $75,000 or more. This will tell you quite a lot about the Mystery Shopping company, firstly how much work they actually have, and, secondly, that they pay GST to the Australian Government (BAS), which also adds another level of legitimacy.
Another way to check a Secret Shopper | Mystery Shopping business is legitimate is to again Google the name of the company, in our case you would Google 'The Secret Shopper Mystery Shopping Services', 'The Secret Shopper' or 'Secret Shopper', each of these keywords should also bring up a Google business listing.
This listing will provide further details about the company, such as the address, the phone number, and a little bit more information about the Secret Shopper | Mystery Shopper company. (Please be aware that Google sometimes does not show this listing, however, our business listing will appear most of the time if you Google 'the secret shopper mystery shopping services'.
Before you can have a Google business listing Google send out a pin number to the office address provided in the Secret Shopper | Mystery Shopper company application, that must be entered before they will allow your listing to be published. This must be then inputted into the Google business listing application to confirm your office address. This is another tip.
Another way to check a Mystery Shopper | Secret Shopping company in Australia is to go to the ASIC website, here is a link to the ASIC Website you can search a business by the business name, or the Secret Shopping companies ABN number. This will tell you that the business is a registered Australian business.
You can also use websites like Scamwatch and search for Mystery Shopping scams. This will tell you about any current Mystery Shopping scams so you can be pre-warned if you see any of these scams anywhere on the internet.
Normally, your virus protection will warn you about these websites, however, it is always a great idea to go to a website safety checker like Trend Micro Site Safety center, Trend Micro is a very well known virus protection tool, who scans websites for potential website issues, once done they provide a ranking, such as Safe, Dangerous, Suspicious or Untested.
Many virus protection programs, such as Trend Micro and Norton, can also be configured to show you which websites are safe, in the case of Trend Micro they will highlight safe web sites in green with a tick if they are safe, Trend Micro virus protection will also tell you if a website in the search page you are looking at is Dangerous, Suspicious or Untested. This will also give you a good idea of what to click on and what not to click on.
The untested websites are always a bit of a gamble, as they have not yet been checked, and obviously do not click on websites marked as Dangerous or Suspicious, it's not worth the risk.
If you are unsure about how to configure your virus protection to provide this feature, simply contact them directly via email, or Google how to do this and what you need to do.
This feature is really great, and in the long term will save you a lot of potential trouble with computer viruses and trojans etc.
If your current virus protection does not offer this feature, seriously consider changing to one that does offer this feature.
The next thing you should look out for is Secret Shopper | Mystery Shopper company’s charging you a fee to join or enrol, this is a very big warning signal that the company is not legitimate. To sign up with The Secret Shopper is TOTALLY free.
If you want to sign up with us it is totally free, and will take about 20-30 minutes, here is a link to the sign up form: Sign up with The Secret Shopper.
You should NEVER part with any money to sign up to a Secret Shopper / Mystery Shopping company.
One of the biggest and worst Mystery Shopper scams at the moment is companies that will send you a cheque that looks legitimate and ask you to deposit it into your bank account. Then they will ask you to send the money through Western Union or some other similar company, and will promise a commission or some sort of remuneration to do so.
If you do this the cheque you deposit in your bank account will likely be dishonored, and if you have sent the money already you may find yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket. The key to this is do not part with any money. Legitimate Secret Shopper companies pay you to complete assignments and surveys, under no circumstances should you pay them any money, we will cover this in more detail later in the next paragraph.
On occasion even legitimate Mystery Shopping / Secret Shopper companies will ask you to make a small purchase during an assignment, this is for a number of reasons, however, it is usually a very small purchase (which will be refunded once the Mystery Shopper / Secret Shopper company receives your receipt.) The receipt is usually attached to your completed survey form and will be used as proof of your visit and the receipt provided usually contains the time and date of your visit. Generally, you get to keep the purchase, but not always.
I personally recommend working with a Mystery Shopping company for some time before taking on any assignments that requires you to make a purchase of any kind.
We suggest you should carry out a few assignments with any new company you sign up with (without a purchase required) and make sure you are paid by the Mystery Shopping / Secret Shopper company the agreed amount, and that they pay you when they say they will pay you. For instance, we send you an email saying your assignment has been approved for payment, this email also contains a date when you will be paid, we never pay late, if we give you a date that is the date you will be paid.
We also suggest setting up a PayPal account, as then payment is instant, and if there is any problems you can take out a dispute with PayPal. This will give you even greater protection and allow you to keep track of all of your Secret Shopper assignments payments.
In closing, if you in any way doubt Mystery Shopping / Secret Shopping companies in general, don’t sign up for anyone. Always do as many checks as you can about the Mystery Shopping / Secret Shopper company, well before signing up, and think about it before starting on your application.
This is important because the reputation of a company, especially a Mystery Shopping / Secret Shopper company is very important to them, this is a great way to earn some extra money, but the last thing we want is for someone to sign up with us, and then totally freak out because they think they may have just been scammed.
Or simply google 'the secret shopper' or 'secret shopper' you will find we occupy the first two organic listings for these keywords on both Google and Microsoft Bing's page one, there is always a couple of pay-per-click ad's, but if you look carefully you will see that they are pay-per-click ad's.
Microsoft Bing makes this Ad symbol very small and it is not in bold text, so look very carefully.
Google has however made pay-per-click ad's very clear, and in bold text, very hard to miss.
Be aware we can delete your account with us at any time, you can simply email us and request this, or, if you receive an email from us and scroll to the bottom of the email there is a link you can use to close your account, it’s that simple.
If you provide your details to a scammer, you have no way to delete them, you are then in a position where your details could be used for any purpose.
In closing, do your own research using all the details contained above, and any other way you can find to check out the Mystery Shopping / Secret Shopper company you want to sign up with, and most of all do not pay any money out to sign up.
There are many pages like this blog that may offer other suggestions, so take your time and do not just rush in.
We hope this blog has been helpful, and if it has please like us, simply click this link or just Google us The Secret Shopper Facebook page as we do post there when new assignments are posted to our online job portal. You will only have access to this portal when you have signed up with us, so this might be a great first step. We have around three thousand genuine likes on Facebook.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog, please feel free to share it with friends who may be looking to earn some extra money.
Thanks, and kind regards,
The Team at The Secret Shopper.