Secret shopping on your terms

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I love getting a good deal, who doesn’t?  But secret shopping I have found, is a great deal. Especially when you find a place that hires you to do it, and you can still be on your own terms for when you do your secret shopping and where, and you can be you and not follow any scripting.

Bestmark is that place.   You do have to take a test prior to your first shop to show that you are in fact able to read and understand basic directions, but anyone can pass that test.  Once those formalities are done, you can pick from loads of different shops, be it retail stores, restaurants, hotels or automotive.   They even sometimes have phone shops where all you do is make a call!

Where you live will determine how many and what shops you have.    I live in a very rural area, but they still have dozens of shops within 50 miles of me.   In a major city that number dramatically increases.

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The other nice thing about Bestmark is that you can do shops when you travel. For instance, if you are on vacation- why not secret shop a hotel or restaurant?   You get free food or lodging plus a little extra cash for your trouble.

You owe it to yourself to check out Bestmark.   Click here to learn more.

Scam!

road-sign-464653_192010/1/16 – I have published a blog post on secret shopping and highlighted a legitimate company, BestMark.   But for every honest company, there have got to be about 100 scammers.   I found one today in my inbox.

To start, any company that contacts you out of the blue to secret shop should send up red flags.    No legitimate company does that.    So immediately I knew this was a scam, however I wanted to investigate further to show you how to spot a scam if just getting an email from a stranger doesn’t set off your warning bells, or you happen across a company in a search and want to know if they are on the up and up.

Here is the original email I received:

scammedNational Shopping Services Network, LLC.  My first task was googling their company name.   On the surface they actually SEEM legit.   There was a stone and mortar business front photo that came up, and nothing standing out immediately that would warn you.   I scanned the google results and I saw one for the Better Business Bureau.  This is the best resource to use.   To my surprise they had a listing, and at first glance that too was positive… but you have to always read carefully:

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They have the “A+” rating but the big red letters saying there is an alert should cause you to investigate further.   If you scroll down to nearly the bottom of the page you see that the original company called National Shopping Service Network, LLC was taken over by a new entity.   The original company might have been on the up and up, but these new owners are not!

Finding an honest company to do business with isn’t always easy and it takes a lot of homework!  There are many more scammers out there than real opportunities.

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BestMark

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You have probably heard of secret shopping.  Maybe you even wanted to try it, but were nervous to seek out opportunities because there are so many fraudulent people that use secret shopping as a way to scam people.

I’ve have done a fair amount of secret shopping with a handful of different companies, so I feel confident in recommending BestMark as one company that I know to be reputable and great to work with.

Depending on where you live, BestMark will have any number of secret shopping opportunities; restaurants, financial institutions, automotive, and retail establishments to name a few.  You just select your area, and the radius you will travel and they will give you a list of opportunities.   Even in my area which is fairly rural, I  have done automotive shops, hotel shops and casino shops.   They also occasionally will have phone or web shops, although I have never tried doing one of those.  The pay out is less – but the effort is also a lot less because you don’t have to physically visit an establishment.

With BestMark they will require you to take an initial test to assess your ability to follow directions and understand the shops they will send you on.   No worries on the test, you can retake it if you miss too many… and the tests aren’t really that hard to begin with.   Most people will pass the first time.

With shops where you are required to purchase goods or services, you do have to pay up front with your own money, but you are reimbursed afterwards if you turn in your paperwork and fill out their follow up questionnaires.   I get my checks mailed to me in about 3-4 weeks.  They do not offer direct deposit as some other secret shopping companies do, but perhaps in time this will be offered.  If you are leery of paying for items up front, there are shops that do not require a purchase, such as automotive shops where all you need to do is take a test drive.

If you would like to become a secret shopper with Best Mark, follow this link and submit your application.  Just because you sign up does not mean you are required to go on shops.  You pick shops when you want, on your schedule.   But going through the application process will give you a better feel for the company and what they expect.

 

 

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