mystery-shopping-warning

Mystery Shopping Scams

As a prominent market and consumer research provider, Mintel Group Ltd. routinely engages mystery shoppers to gather products and information. The good reputation of Mintel’s mystery shopper network, however, sometimes attracts fraudulent mystery shopper scams.

Unfortunately, Mintel regularly receives notice of fraudulent mystery shopper scams that impersonate Mintel. Even though Mintel’s actual company name and service mark are used, the phone numbers, employee names, and websites provided in the job postings or letters are phony. Mintel deplores the fraudulent use of its brand and reports these scams to law enforcement.

To assist you in identifying and avoiding fraudulent mystery shopper scams, consult the following resources.


How to Distinguish a Mintel Mystery Shopper Opportunity from a Fraudulent One

  • Mintel engages only mystery shoppers who complete and submit an application form through the official Mintel Shopper website (http://shopper.mintel.com ).
  • Mintel neither sends checks for future work nor imposes any fees upon a mystery shopper, such as a fee to access any database.
  • Mintel asks no one to cash checks or to wire or transfer money to strangers or other companies.
  • Initial communication with Mintel always occurs electronically, through e-mail from an “@mintel.com” address or through the secure Mintel Shopper website.
  • All Mintel letters originate from its Chicago or London office; letters originating from any other address, including a P.O. Box, are not genuine.

Reliable Sources for Information Regarding Mystery Shopper Scams

  • Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA): The MSPA provides a list of reputable mystery shopping companies, describes the mystery shopping process and explains how to avoid scams.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB collects information from consumers to determine the reliability of businesses, alerts the public to fraudulent activity, and responds to consumer complaints. Mintel is an accredited member of the BBB.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC is an independent federal agency which promotes consumer protection by investigating issues raised by the public regarding business practices.

Where and How to Report Mystery Shopper Scams

  • Contact the cybercrimes division or an investigator at your local law enforcement.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here, call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580.
  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau here.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation here.
  • To contact Mintel directly, call 877-447-1234 or send an e-mail to scamreport@mintel.com.
  • Remember always to provide accurate and thorough information. If possible, attach e-mails or scanned images of checks or letters.