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 Feedback Requested: Feedplus Secret Shopper
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Theresa in Clear Lake
Member

Houston, TX
USA
18 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  12:12:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just received what looks to be a mass email from this company looking for mystery shoppers. I have been burned in the past with mass emails...as they look to good to be true, but now that I have such and informative forum that can help, I am looking to you to help me. Thanks in advance for all of your help.
Here is the email:
"We have a mystery shopping assignment in your area and we would like you to participate"

Feedplus Secret Shopper® is accepting applications for qualified individuals to become mystery shoppers. It's fun and rewarding, and you choose when and where you want to shop. You are never obligated to accept an assignment. There is no charge to become a shopper and you do not need previous experience. After you sign up, you will have access to training materials via e-mail, fax or postal mail.

ABOUT US

Feed plus Secret Shopper® is the premier mystery shopping company, serving clients across America and Canada with over 500,000 shoppers available and ready to help businesses better serve their customers. Continual investment in the latest internet and communication technologies coupled with over 16 years of know-how
means working with Secret Shopper® is a satisfying and rewarding experience. Secret shopping as seen on ABC NEWS, NBC NEWS, L.A.TIMES.
Stores and organizations such as The Gap, Walmart, Pizza Hut, and Bank. One amongst many others pay for Secret Shoppers to shop in their establishments and report their experiences. On top of being paid for shopping you are also allowed to keep purchases for free. Secret Shopper® NEVER charge fees to the shopper. Training, tips for improvement, and shopping opportunities are provided free to registered shoppers. Mystery shoppers are either paid a
pre-arranged fee for a particular shop, a reimbursement for a purchase or a combination of both.Secret Shopper® has available for immediate assignment an inspection of the customer service of any walmart in your area. You are to shop secretly . This fee will be paid upfront. During this shop you will visit the location and make several observations as regards the customer service.

You will be required to interact with the shop clerk.

You may conduct the shop alone or as a couple.

The assignment will pay $200.00/ Assignment, $25 for transport

Kindly Fill Out the application form below and we will get back to you shortly with the assignment:

PERSONAL INFORMATION:

First Name.............................................
Middle Name.............................................
Last Name.............................................
Street Address .............................................
City, State, Zip Code .............................................
Cell Phone Number .............................................
Home Phone Number .............................................
Age....................................................................
Current Occupation......................................................
Alternate Email Address .............................................

AVAILABILITY:

Days/Hours Available

Monday .............................................
Tuesday .............................................
Wednesday .............................................
Thursday .............................................
Friday .............................................
Saturday .............................................
Sunday .............................................

Hours Available: from _______ to ______

We await your urgent response.

Thank you for your help.

We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,
Ashley Cole
Secret Shopper®

Theresa
Proudly Shopping SE TX
Silver Certified 2008

Susan L
Star Contributor

Westchester County, New York
USA
257 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  12:44:02 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Is there an email address or phone number with this email? I couldn't find a web address or listing for Feedplus.

There is, however, a legitimate company called "Feedback Plus," that has been around for a long time (and it is one of my favorites). But they have an online sign-up process and are members of MSPA.

Sue

Susan L.
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Theresa in Clear Lake
Member

Houston, TX
USA
18 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  12:48:00 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
There wasnt one, but I will reply to them to ask for their website.
I guess I could have done that..:) thanks!

Theresa
Proudly Shopping SE TX
Silver Certified 2008
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Bill Kapelli
Star Contributor

Kissimmee, FL
USA
278 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  12:54:52 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
There is a company called Secret Shopper; their website is http://www.secretshopper.com, and the verbiage in the e-mail appears, in part, to have been taken directly from their site, though "feedplus" is not mentioned on their home page.

Bill Kapelli
MSPA Gold Certified
Kissimmee [Metro Orlando], FL
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Quinn
Star Contributor

Atlanta, GA
USA
50242 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  1:03:28 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It sounds like a scam to me. The wording is not right in some places. There are clients named, but I have never heard of one called Bank. This sentence makes little sense, "One amongst many others pay for Secret Shoppers to shop in their establishments and report their experiences." The grammar is just not right.

No way they are paying $200.00 for these type of shops. I have never heard of a gas allowance, mileage fee, or whatever referred to as transport.
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 12/29/2008 :  7:53:58 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
SCAM!!!!!

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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Susan L
Star Contributor

Westchester County, New York
USA
257 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  12:08:16 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The wording reminds me of those Nigerian email scams; I guess since so many people have heard about those tricks, the scamsters are now invading mystery shopping.

They claim to pay $200 or $225 upfront--two big flaming red flags--to shop at Walmart. And if they already have 500,000 shoppers, why do they need you?


Susan L.
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SteveSoCal
Contributor

Los Angeles, CA
USA
83 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  01:24:24 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It's a scam for sure, but scary in that the grammar is starting to get somewhat better than scams in the past. They have used a lot of text from the Sights on Service, Inc. website, but I'm willing to bet the email did not come from a secretshopper.com address.

I think another big giveaway here is that you can choose to go to "any Walmart in your area". If the scammers figure out an appropriate fee structure and more about how MSing actualy works, it will be harder to spot scams. I think they rely on a combination of greed & inexperience to get people to cash the checks, though.

I fear were are going to see a lot more of this in the near future with the economy being so poor and people looking for ways to make more income. Bottom line....If a company you have never heard of offers you money to cash a large cashier's check. Don't do it!

Steve
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  06:33:21 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Servanne

SCAM!!!!!


Last night, I was quite busy, so I did not have time to explain why I screamed it was a scam. Sure did not want to be rude though, so here is in details why I think this is a scam.

First, they spell their own name different ways (Feedplus - Feed Plus - or plain Secret Shopper -> that's the part they probably copy/pasted from the Sights on Service site).

Several sentences just don't make sense. For example: "Secret shopping as seen on ABC NEWS, NBC NEWS, L.A.TIMES." and "Stores and organizations such as The Gap, Walmart, Pizza Hut, and Bank." OK, where is the verb? What does that mean?!? And who is Bank?
As Quinn pointed out, this also makes no sense: "One amongst many others pay for Secret Shoppers to shop in their establishments and report their experiences." Wha'??

As Steve said, the "any walmart in your area" bit is a dead give away that it's a scam. I don't think I have ever encountered an MSC that gave me a choice of which store to shop.

"make several observations as regards the customer service" : I don't think that's proper English.
I also do not believe anyone in the US or Canada uses the idiom "shop clerk".

"Kindly Fill Out the application form below": all these capital letters should not be here. Any MSC with good editors could tell you that! They're trying to mark emphasis where emphasis is not needed.

And finally, the shop fee of $200 plus a $25 "transport" allowance(BTW, we usually say "travel" allowance in MSing) is definitely not real.

As Steve said, they're getting better. But I don't think they're good yet. We can still sniff out their scams.

It's a good thing we have Volition to turn to when in doubt and this is what is keeping our money safe: our community. Way to go Theresa for asking here and posting their letter.

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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DougCRector
Star Contributor

Renton, WA
USA
260 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  2:07:31 PM  Visit DougCRector's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
This is a scam. The name of the MS company is legit and they are a great company. These scammers are using legit company names to lure you in.
You need to be cautious about any company that will pay you upfront.
Please read my blog postings at www.nwlpc.com

Doug Rector
NWLPC'www.nwlpc.com

Doug Rector
President
NW Loss Prevention Consultants
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Theresa in Clear Lake
Member

Houston, TX
USA
18 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2008 :  4:58:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am so glad I decided to post and ask...I would rather make sure that those that are even more new than I am are aware as well....Here I am , trying to get certified, get signed on with as many companies as possible to make a good routing day and a good day, and then there are the scammers that want to mess up this really great opportunity for us.
Thank you so much! I love all this action on volition (I even snuck a peak at the MSPA forum today, just to see) and I like the fact that we are all so giving of our knowledge..not greedy like some people might want to believe..I mean can we really do it all ourselves? LOL Ok, now off to see if the few last minute shops that I requested have been approved for me yet...a regular $20 shop paying $55....now thats my kind of shop....glad I waited :)ok so a little greed, but in the healthy way

Theresa
Proudly Shopping SE TX
Silver Certified 2008
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Avery
Valued Contributor

Ft. Collins, Colorado
USA
174 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2009 :  6:37:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Let me emphasize up front that I don't work for these people. However, the quality of their e-mails, while leaving something to be desired, doesn't rise to the level of scorn which is being heaped on them. I get e-mails from lots of legitimate mystery-shopping and demo-companies which have the same sorts of lame grammar or typos. You've got to remember that the people putting these things out are NOT highly-paid secretaries or experienced office-personnel. Rather, they're probably 20-something entry-level clerks copying and pasting whatever they can to do the job quickly. They more-than-likely aren't familiar with the concept of proofreading, much less likely to be able to do that job well.

As for

"...Pizza Hut, and Bank." OK, where is the verb? What does that mean?!? And who is Bank?
As Quinn pointed out, this also makes no sense: "One amongst many others pay for Secret Shoppers to shop in their establishments...."

it's obvious that these sentences read like this:

"Secret shopping as seen on ABC NEWS, NBC NEWS, L.A.TIMES." (paragraph break - and links probably missing)
"Stores and organizations such as The Gap, Walmart, Pizza Hut, and Bank One amongst many others pay for Secret Shoppers..." (Someone erroneously put a period after the word "Bank")
As for

"As Steve said, the "any walmart in your area" bit is a dead give away that it's a scam. I don't think I have ever encountered an MSC that gave me a choice of which store to shop."

I'm pretty sure they mean any Walmart which happens to be in your area -- after all, there probably are some parts of the country which don't have Walmarts. And several mystery shopping companies from whom I get assignments routinely let me choose among the half-dozen locations of the same restaurant in the Denver metro area, so, if you happened to live within a 30-mile radius of several WalMarts (as I do), why shouldn't you get to choose which one to shop?

As for their use of English, a quick check of the sender's e-mail address reveals that it's a Telecommunications/ISP in Australia called "optusnet.com" -- with no hidden codes or anything else scammer-like hidden in the e-mail. The ONLY thing which seems fishy about this is that they say they'll pay $300 per Assignment (as of Jan. 2nd e-mail).

Other than forgetting to format their e-mail properly, they seem to be targeting two audiences at once. For instance, the fact (?) that they already have 500,000 shoppers might be an exaggeration -- but would only amount to an average of 2,000 mystery shoppers per 250 major cities in the U.S. and Canada. If they've been in business for a 16 years, the number of people who've signed up at one time or another isn't that far-fetched. It is, however, a stupid thing to mention to prospective shoppers.

Furthermore, the sender is not asking for any sensitive information, and they're not asking for people to pay anything. So, I'm left wondering what they're scamming for? Their e-mails do NOT ask for any money up front; as a matter of fact, the phrase "There is no charge to become a shopper" is right there in the first paragraph, while the only expense mentioned is the $10 purchase to be made at Walmart.

Which leads me to my first hunch, which is that the people sending these e-mails are the ones being scammed. They probably paid to get e-mailing lists from which they were supposed to get paid for every name they referred back to whoever "hired" them.

My second hunch is that, if this were a really bad scam, Secret Shopper would have something about it at their scam-report website [http://secretshopper.com/info/shoppers/ScamAlert.asp] However, just for jollies, I'm going to try and forward the latest e-mail I got from the Aussie to Secret Shopper -- I think they might be interested in going after someone using their trademark in these e-mails.
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SteveSoCal
Contributor

Los Angeles, CA
USA
83 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2009 :  10:11:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Avery,

To clear up any confusion; What I am referring to (and I think the others were as well) by calling this a scam, is that this email appears to be part of the 'cashier's check scam' which has been going on for a while.

See the thread on that below:

http://forum.volition.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=39205

The perpetrators of this scam deserve all of the scorn laid upon them and more, IMHO, and the info on the check cashing scam is posted in the link you supplied for Secret Shopper.



Steve
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Susan L
Star Contributor

Westchester County, New York
USA
257 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2009 :  10:32:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
If I had known when I began doing this work how many mystery shopping scams were floating around, I don't know if I would have had the courage to get started.

But there's one thing about the way I started: I only shopped with the companies that were members of the MSPA. My intent was to avoid being charged to sign up for shops, but maybe an indirect outcome was that I avoided the common mystery shopping scams as well as the weird communications from legit companies that look so much like scams that it's hard to tell the difference. (Yes, I've been fooled into thinking that a legitimate company was a scam by their communication.)

BTW, the "I'll send you a test check and you send me the money by Western Union" scam has been around for a long time, with the scamsters using a variety of scenarios before I noticed them using it in mystery shopping. The real shame is that they use the names of legitimate companies, and copy their websites, as part of their deception.

Susan L.
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DougCRector
Star Contributor

Renton, WA
USA
260 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2009 :  11:25:18 PM  Visit DougCRector's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
This is how it works:

They send you a counterfeit check or money order and have you deposit it into your account.
You keep a percentage and withdraw the remaining amount then go to Western Union. You then wire the remaining amount to the specified person. They make you believe you are doing a mystery shop for Western Union (or some other business).
In 7-10 days you receive a notice from the bank stating the check (or money order) was not good. You are then on the hook for what you took out and there is no recourse.

Doug Rector
President
NW Loss Prevention Consultants
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2009 :  08:43:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Avery, I am not sure you have seen many of those before. If you had, surely you would have known this was a scam. This is the typical cashier's check scam. They do not ask you for any sensitive information up front, if ever. All they want is for you to think this is legitimate (hence the $10 purhase and no fee bit), but they will send you a cashier's check and proceed as DCRector explained.

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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