I hope that Chris Hansen reads his e-mails, because I must tell you that I gave him an “earful” after watching Dateline’s expose of scams on Sunday, April 5, 2009. I wholeheartedly agree that there are a WHOLE lot of people using mystery shopping as a lure to get your money. I agree that it’s a story that has to be told. BUT – I would have liked to see even ONE line about the hundreds of legitimate companies that will hire you to mystery shop where you CAN earn money, have a free dinner out, even stay in a hotel for the night and get paid for it.
There was not even a mention of the Mystery Shopper Providers Association. You see, the MSPA is the LARGEST professional trade association dedicated to improving service quality using shoppers who remain anonymous. With over 150 member companies worldwide, their membership roster includes marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms, training organizations and companies that specialize in providing mystery shopping services.
For those of us who mystery shop, they offer conferences, training and certification programs to help us keep our skills at their peak performance levels. The Silver Certification program is a BASIC skills test to ensure the person has the fundamental understanding of the mystery shopping industry and has the basic skills to read, comprehend and follow directions. You must be Silver Certified before you can go to Gold. The Gold Certification allows you to attend an all day workshop, which covers much deeper material.
So you see, Chris Hansen….this is the REAL DEAL. Mystery shopping has helped me to live the good life for less (and make a few dollars as well) and if you like you can read about a few of the companies that I shop for in my former posts.
For those who are looking to mystery shop. Please check out and see if the company is listed with the MSPA FIRST, just to be guaranteed that YOU’LL be living the good life if you shop for them!
Check out my 2 cents on this recent Career Builder article on secret shopping as a great way to make some extra money.