Warning about Mystery Shopping Scams

What to look out for and how to get help - don't be a victim of a scam

In the last several months we have been seeing increased activity among scammers attempting to take your money and as a trusted mystery shopping provider, Market Force wants you to know that we're here to help.

If you believe you have been approached by a fraudulent mystery shop company, we suggest you contact one or all of the following:

  • Your local police department.
  • Citizens Advice: Call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a trader to Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it’s appropriate. If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to contact Consumerline and tell them you want to report a trader to Trading Standards.
  • Citizens Advice consumer helpline: Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Closed on bank holidays. Calls to the helpline cost up to 9p per minute from a landline. If you’re calling from a mobile, it’ll cost between 3p and 40p per minute - if you have inclusive minutes, it’s the same as calling a landline.
    • Telephone: 03454 04 05 06
    • Textphone: 18001 03454 04 05 06
    • Telephone a Welsh-speaking adviser: 03454 04 05 05
    • Textphone a Welsh-speaking adviser: 18001 03454 04 05 05

We've found that some scammers are:

  • Using Market Force Information logo
  • Pretending to be a Market Force employee (and using a real Market Force employee name)
  • Taking text from our website to present a professional look and feel

These individuals or groups want to take your money and will go to extreme measures to trick you into believing that they are a legitimate business.

Here are some of the clues that will help you identify the contact as a scam:

  • You are sent “money” in the form of a cheque in advance of your completing an assignment. These cheques may not be legitimate and you could incur bank charges. Market Force Information does not pay shoppers in advance of an assignment.
  • You are asked to pay money to become a shopper. Legitimate mystery shopping firms never ask for money from a shopper. See the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA).
  • The email address does not use a legitimate Market Force Information email name, which will always be in the form of name@marketforce.com. If the person contacting you has an AOL or Gmail or similar non-corporate email address, it is not from a legitimate mystery shopping company. Remember, if the email is from a real person employed by Market Force, our name Market Force will appear after the @, not before.
  • The regular mail has a letter with a legitimate return address but the postmark is not from the same area, it is likely a scam. Almost all of our correspondence with shoppers will be by email (our corporate email address; name@marketforce.com); but in any case, when the postmark does not match with the return address, be suspicious!
  • If the caller has a foreign accent but his or her given name does not sound foreign, be suspicious. Many of these scams are undertaken by groups calling from foreign countries, such as India, Jamaica, Russia and the like; they use voice over Internet (VOIP) services like Magic Jack and Skype to look like they are calling from a U.S. area code.
  • Offer includes a high payment amount for a relatively easy assignment. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! Beware of a large cheque that you are to deposit into your account, send most of the money to the sender, and you keep the balance as your fee.
  • The offer does not require you to enroll as a mystery shopper with Market Force. We require all individuals who wish to mystery shop with us to apply at uk.marketforceshopper.com/register and wait for approval before we allow you to select shops for us. If the offer doesn’t require your application, it is not from us.
  • You were contacted through text or SMS (other than through our Eyes:On™ app) Market Force Information does not communicate with its shoppers through text or SMS. We do have a mobile phone app through which we communicate, but that app is tightly controlled and Market Force Information does not communicate with its shoppers through text or SMS.

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