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Our number one goal at DollarSprout is to help readers improve their financial lives, and we regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. Some of the links in this post may be from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

best mystery shopping companies pinHow would you like to get paid to shop with the best mystery shopping companies?

That’s exactly what thousands of people just like you and me are doing to earn hundreds, even thousands of dollars each month.

The companies paying these “mystery” shoppers need feedback for their business – so they’re willing to pay mystery shoppers to collect it.

It’s a win-win for everybody involved. The question is, how can you earn extra money as a mystery shopper?

What is a Mystery Shopper?

If you’ve never heard of a mystery shopper before, it’s a person who is paid to act like a regular, everyday shopper, then provide feedback on their experience.

Reputable mystery shopping companies give secret shoppers a list of tasks to complete, such as asking specific questions about a product or receiving a service (for example, an oil change).

Following the completion of the tasks, the mystery shopper reports feedback on the cleanliness of the shop environment, the helpfulness of the employees, and other details about their experience.

Companies pay secret shoppers for providing this information. In most cases, they also reimburse shoppers for any expenses incurred.

Related: 25 Online Jobs That are Legitimate, Easy, and Flexible

How to Become a Secret Shopper (and Find Mystery Shopper Jobs Near Me)

Becoming a mystery shopper is simple. All you do is sign up with the best mystery shopping companies (we’ve done the hard work for you and listed them all below), choose your tasks or assignments, and start shopping.

We only recommend the highest quality mystery shopping services. No scams here.

You can sign up with as many mystery shopping services as you’d prefer. The more companies you sign up with, the more opportunities you have to make extra money.

More jobs equals more income, and who doesn’t want that?

One secret shopper worked for 75 companies (at his peak) and made $14,000 in one year just from performing mystery shops on weekends, during his lunch break, and on the way home from work. The sky is the limit and the more shopping opportunities, the better.

If you’re wondering where to find the best mystery shopper jobs “near me” then these 14 companies are for you!

The 14 Best Mystery Shopping Companies to Work For

Let’s take a look at the top secret shopper companies you’ll want to be a part of.

1. Secret Shopper

Secret Shopper is a well-established company that helps clients improve their businesses using mystery shoppers to gather data.

They’ve been around since 1993 and are very credible with many awards, including the MSPA Elite award for 2018. It’s completely free to sign up, and you set your own hours.

How it works:

  1. Sign up to shop on their website
  2. Read and agree to the “Secret Shopper® Shopper Ethics and Conduct, Terms and Conditions, and Policies and Procedures Agreement”.
  3. Complete the basic certification test
  4. Fill out your personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, etc.
  5. Upon completion of your personal information, you’ll receive your shopper ID and password. Use your ID and password to log in, then view and schedule available shops for you to complete.
  6. That’s it — you’re a mystery shopper!

2. Market Force

At Market Force, you’ll complete mystery shops for banks, restaurants, and stores in order to help those businesses thrive.

By giving feedback on content such as cleanliness, product selection, and customer service, the businesses receive the information they need to succeed. Market Force has been awarded MSPA Shopper’s Choice Award three years in a row, making it a great choice for mystery shoppers to work with.

How it works:

  1. Create a Shopper Force Account (enter your name, email, ZIP Code, and choose a password)
  2. Answer several personal history questions
  3. Sign and date to the Terms of the Agreement
  4. You’re done! View your shopper portal to start accepting jobs.

3. GBW

GBW is located in over 105 different countries and currently has 400,000+ secret shoppers. You can become one of the many who helps to improve customer service and get paid for your time. If you’re interested in retail and have an eye for detail, GBW is for you.

How it works:

  1. Click the big red button that says “Become a Shopper”
  2. Select your country
  3. Fill out personal information including your name, email address, DOB, and phone number
  4. Complete a few demographic questions regarding your address, education, current job, etc.
  5. Answer questions about your technology, legal history, where you found out about GPW, and why you want to be a mystery shopper
  6. Add your references
  7. Check your email for your login credentials. Happy shopping!

4. Pinnacle

Pinnacle has been around for 20 years. They assist financial institutions by helping them improve their service and sales quality. Their secret shoppers work solely with credit unions and banks, making it a great choice for anybody interested in finance. It’s completely free to become a mystery shopper with Pinnacle.

How it works:

  1. Click the button that says New Shopper Sign Up
  2. Enter your email address
  3. Add your basic personal information, including bank account details (so you can get paid)
  4. Answer demographic questions to help Pinnacle find the best jobs for you
  5. Agree to the terms
  6. You’re in!

5. A Closer Look

With the MSPA “Elite Company” award for 2018 and over 8 different industries to perform mystery shops for, A Closer Look is a quality option for every secret shopper.

They pride themselves in making sure your mystery shopping experience is tailored to your needs. If performing secret shops for hotels, restaurants, retail, health and wellness, and much more sounds up your alley, you’ll love working for A Closer Look.

How it works:

  1. Click the big red button that says Become a Mystery Shopper.
  2. Provide a current email address.
  3. Once your email has been approved, you’ll receive a link to the application page (the link expires in 2 days, so complete the mystery shopper application ASAP).
  4. Fill out your personal and demographic information, then answer the 10-question Shopper Qualification survey. The entire process should take about 20-30 minutes.
  5. As a final part of the mystery shopper application, submit a narrative about your most recent dining experience. This is used to show your ability to reiterate your experience in a clear and concise manner.
  6. That’s it! Keep an eye out for your email with next steps.

6. Quest for Best

Quest for Best provides mystery shop opportunities in over 40 states in the US. If you are articulate and motivated when it comes to shopping, Quest for Best wants you on their team. It’s completely free to sign up!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click the Become a Shopper link
  2. Fill out the Online Shopper Profile
  3. If there is a job in your area, Quest for Best will give you the info for the shop. If not, they’ll store your profile until a shop is available for you.

7. IntelliShop

IntelliShop serves an extensive list of over 50 industries, so you’re bound to receive mystery shops that interest you. It’s free to sign up, of course. Sign up to see what IntelliShop has in store for you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click the button that says New Shopper Sign Up
  2. Enter your email
  3. Read the independent contractor agreement
  4. Add your basic personal information, including your bank details (if you want to get paid)
  5. Complete the demographic questionnaire
  6. Enter your tax information
  7. Agree to the terms and contract
  8. Start making money!

8. Perception Strategies, Inc.

Perception Strategies, Inc. focuses on healthcare mystery shops. They’ve performed over 150,00 healthcare mystery shops since 1998.

This mystery shopping company focuses on giving healthcare providers the feedback they need to make their patients’ experience the best possible. Interested in becoming a mystery shopper for Perception Strategies, Inc.?

Here’s how it works:

  1. Click “Shopper Application” in the top menu bar
  2. Check out the list of immediate openings
  3. If your location does not have an immediate opening, you’ll be notified of any that come up once your application is on file.
  4. Fill out all information in the application and submit.

9. Sinclair Customer Metrics

Since 1987, Sinclair has helped thousands of businesses improve their overall customer experience. They offer a wide variety of tasks, from video secret shops to telephone mystery shops.

Here’s how it works:

  1. To sign up with Sinclair, enter your name and email
  2. Review the Information for Mystery Shoppers document
  3. Read and agree to the Independent Contractor agreement
  4. Fill out the Secure Online Application
  5. Take the Sinclair New Shopper Challenge
  6. Take the New Shopper Survey
  7. Welcome aboard to mystery shopping with Sinclair!

10. GfK Mystery Shopping

If you live in the UK, GfK mystery shopping is for you! Your secret shops will be either in person, by phone, through email, or using web chat. GfK secret shoppers perform mystery shops ranging from gas stations to banks to restaurants. It’s simple and easy to get started!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Scroll down and click Apply to become a mystery shopper
  2. Add your basic personal information and demographic questions
  3. Read the privacy information and agree to the terms
  4. Read the independent contractor agreement and agree to the terms
  5. Click “Sign Up” and you’re in!

Mystery Shopping Jobs by Phone

If in-person shopping isn’t your thing, or if you don’t have time to visit stores, then secret shopping by phone may be a better fit for you.

11. Call Center QA

Call Center QA works to help organizations improve the quality and helpfulness of their call centers. If you don’t mind chatting on the phone, have excellent reading and writing skills, and an attention to detail, this job is for you! You can complete all your calls from home using your landline or mobile phone.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You must be a resident of the US
  2. Fill out the application including basic information questions, education, a few personal questions to help determine what mystery shops you’d be good for, and how you heard about the company.
  3. Click submit and you’re done! You’ll receive further information once you complete the application

12. ARC Consulting

With ARC, you are paid per mystery phone call. How much work and pay you receive depends on how much work they have available at the time.

The application lists the following countries for hiring: United States, Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Enter your payment information for Paypal
  3. Add your login details
  4. Submit!

13. Yardi-Matrix

Yardi-Matrix provides a job opportunity for those interested in taking surveys for the commercial real estate industry. If hired, your job is to call apartment communities and ask various questions.

In order to complete the tasks, you’ll need high-speed internet access, a phone, and proper telephone etiquette. You must be willing to play the role of a “renter” when taking surveys for this job.

How to apply:

  1. Submit a current resume to the Yardi Matrix contact
  2. Here’s where to find more information on how to apply to Yardi Matrix

14. Intelicheck

Intelicheck is looking for motivated mystery shopper with excellent time-management skills. As an Intelicheck mystery shopper, you get to enjoy flexible hours working from the comfort of your own home.

At the moment, Intelicheck is not hiring. But if you fill out an application, they will keep it on file and notify you if further positions open.

  1. Fill out the online application

How to Avoid Mystery Shopping Scams

Our list of mystery shopping companies only includes legitimate options, so you don’t have to worry about that. However, not all companies are as high caliber, and some are complete scams. Here’s what to watch out for.

Only Choose from a Trusted List Of Mystery Shopping Companies

When searching for reputable mystery shopping companies, make sure you sign up for companies recommended by trusted sources. We always do our homework and research options before recommending a company, so you’re safe with us!

Never Wire Money

If you are asked by a mystery shopping company to deposit a check into your personal account, withdraw the amount of the check in cash, and wire it to a third party, DON’T do it. The check is fake, and it’s a scam.

Although the check may look like it went through and the money has appeared in your account, it can take banks weeks to uncover a fake check.

Once the fake check is discovered, you will be responsible for paying back the bank for the amount you deposited and withdrew. Play it safe and never deposit a check from someone you don’t trust if you’re going to wire the money back.

Never Pay in Advance to Become a Mystery Shopper

All of the mystery shopping companies listed above are completely free to sign up, and that’s for a reason.

If you ever come across a mystery shopping company that asks you to pay money to sign up, it’s a scam. Avoid it like the plague. You should never have to pay money to sign up, period.

Find Your Ideal Mystery Shopping Niche

As you can see, the sky is the limit when it comes to mystery shopping. It’s up to you if you want to stick to one company or try them all!

Once you perform several mystery shops, you’ll realize which secret shops come naturally to you and are the most enjoyable to complete. You may find that some aren’t worth your time, while others hardly feel like work.

When you become more comfortable in your mystery shopping niche, you’ll be completing jobs right and left and raking in the dough. Good luck mystery shoppers!

Have you tried mystery shopping before? What are your favorite mystery shopping companies?

Author
Meredith Helm

Meredith is the founder of Write Your Story: a blog focused on her passion of living a healthy and budget friendly lifestyle. When she's not blogging, you can find her teaching, whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, or exploring the great outdoors with her husband.

27 comments
Ruth Ann 3 months, 18 days ago

I got a certified check from the company, “A Closer Look. Llc.” They want me to deposit the check, wait for it to clear & then take out the amount needed for 2 MoneyGrams. Whatever is left, is my payment, which is like $360. Can you tell me if this is legit or if the company is? Thanks!

Reply
Jeff Proctor 3 months, 17 days ago

Definitely sounds shady. I wouldn’t do it.

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Amy 3 months, 6 days ago

That is a common strategy for money scams. Definitely DO NOT do it. No way!

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Gen May 3 months, 10 days ago

I was mailed a large check with instructions to deposit the check into my account, and buy $800 worth of iTunes cards from 2 different stores. It said to scratch the back of the card and sent the pin along with pictures of the card with my phone and send them the pictures.

The instructions mentioned to write an evaluation of the 2 stores I go to, and that I can keep the the remaining money I did not spend.

Is this a scam?

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Jeff Proctor 3 months, 9 days ago

100% a scam. Don’t do this.

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TommyT 3 months, 7 days ago

Hello,

I have applied at this site “wmfunshopper” through LinkedIn. The site looks legit but I cant seem to find anything out about it outside of this website. I haven’t received the envelope yet but its coming.

“You will receive an envelope next week containing a Cashier’s Check,Instruction Letter and Assessment Form.”

Does this seem like a scam to you?

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Jeff Proctor 3 months, 7 days ago

This sounds like a scam. I just checked out the BBB’s website and they do not have good ratings.

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Susan 2 months, 26 days ago

I have been a mystery shopper for nearly 25 years and have worked with over 150 mystery shop companies. I will be heading to the west coast soon and there is a VERY popular drive-thru burger restaurant that I would like to evaluate but am not sure which company provides these shops. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Michelle 1 month, 27 days ago

Hi,
Is ‘Service Measure’ an accountable site? I’ve got a contact via LinkedIn. Please let me know.
Thanks!

Reply
Ben Huber
Ben Huber 1 month, 27 days ago

Hey Michelle,

We’re not too familiar with Service Measure — it looks like they’re a small U.K. based that registered their domain in July of 2018 (so still very new). We haven’t tried their service so don’t feel comfortable offering any advice (but we’d suggest proceeding with caution if you do decide to try their service).

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Randy Knapp 1 month, 25 days ago

Michelle we got the same check for 2850 to go buy 2 gift cards at the Apple store, I am afraid to deposit the check let me know if you try it.

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Ben Huber
Ben Huber 1 month, 24 days ago

Hey Randy,

These are almost always scams. Typically the way it works is that the check temporarily clears, the scammer will instruct you to go buy two gift cards that day, and then the check funds are later rescinded by your bank. You then get stuck footing the cost of the gift cards that you bought.

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Rhonda 1 month, 21 days ago

So I was dumb enough to fall for this very scam…now what? I have the “check” that I was sent…I feel like I should change my phone number, my email address…
My husband wants me to notify the sheriff department.

Reply
Ben Huber
Ben Huber 1 month, 20 days ago

Sorry to hear that Rhonda — scammers are often extremely good at what they do/they can be super convincing. I’m assuming you’re referring to the “big check” scam referenced above? Is it safe to assume you’ve already sent the gift cards? If so, how did you send them and where to?

The devil is in the details and unfortunately your options for recouping the cost are limited. ?

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Lisa 1 month, 7 days ago

Has anyone ever heard of Actionable Intelligence Delivery? They say it’s a mystery shopper company

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Jess 1 month, 5 days ago

Has anyone heard of http://www.business-shoppers.com? I recieved an offer through LinkedIn so applied for it and recieved a text saying that I was accepted and to respond with ACCEPTED and they would send me instructions in the mail in 5 days.

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Amanda 1 month, 2 days ago

Hi! I tried applying for Mystery Shopper, it’s number one on your list. I took the test and the next page popped up telling me to read it and click ‘I Agree’.
Well this is the 2nd time I’ve tried but there is no box for me to check. I tried finding someway to tell them this but I can’t find a coordinators number, not being a Shopper there yet.
Can you contact them for me? I’m just frustrated.
Thank you

Reply
Ben Huber
Ben Huber 26 days ago

Hey Amanda,

Often issues like this are with browser compatibility — do you have a different browser you could try (like Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.)?

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Isaac Moraga 1 month ago

I was recently sent an email from my university and a student had sent this link to apply. The company’s name is PanWays Shoppers, Inc. The check amount was $2450 and it came in a formal United States Postal Service envelope. I haven’t deposited it, waiting to hear if its legit.

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Ben Huber
Ben Huber 1 month ago

Not legit — any sort of large sum deposit promising leftover cash in return for purchased gift cards is not legit.

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Scott 23 days ago

Panwaysshoppers.com

Large Check Scam > I should have done my research ahead of time .

I already talked to the Fraud department at my bank to flag the check and ensure I can recoup my lose. Most Banking institutions will help cover the fraud costs – so make sure to be up front with your bank, and have them go through the proper steps.

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Pam 21 days ago

Jess – I had the same offer a couple of weeks ago – I thought I was putting in my contact details to get more information but they said I was accepted. I now believe it is a scam because I can’t find anything about the company. I forgot about it until I just received a text saying welcome and first task will be mailed to me and that I can accept the job by replying to the text. I am not going to reply and just see what is sent – I’m guessing I will be tossing it in the garbage.

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Janet 21 days ago

I too just received a large sum of money from Panways Shoppers. However I have not deposited anything and had no intentions of using my personal bank account. After comments above and it’s said to be scam what should I do now. Can I just destroy this fake cashiers check or return it.? Thanks

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Nicole 19 days ago

Thanks so much for this list!

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Tricialentz 15 days ago

No company that sends large amount of checks to purchase items is legit. I too recently received a check for $2400 from AlaskaUSA federal credit union for same. Called bank and they said it’s not real and actually directed me to the FBI as the cashiers check has a persons name and phone number on it! Be careful people.

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Nash 11 days ago

I was recently sent an email from my university to apply to become a mystery shopper. I did that before the deadline, and after a few days I received a message that my application was successful. The company’s name is consumer survey service. The check amount was $2915. and it came in a formal United States Postal Service envelope. I was given instruction to buy 2 apple store gift cards @1250 and the scratch and send them the number. my salary is $300 and $50 bonus if I do it within two days. I never banked the check(I have the check with me today as I write this) I have just called the bank and the bank told me that is it a fake check (NSWS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION in Dahlgren,VA) I have decided that I will shred it and throw it away.

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Ron Martini 2 days ago

By the looks of this thread there are a lot of scammers using mystery shopping as a way to find people to scam. That is sad to see as mystery shopping is a legit way to make extra money. I work for over 20 different companies and haven;t been ripped off yet. You sigh up and instantly have access to a job board. NO waiting for instructions in the mail!!!! There are 100’s of jobs available but you aren’t going to get rich. My average is $15.00 per job. There are jobs that pay a small fee and reimburse you for purchases like food or items you buy. There as also jobs that pay $55.00 to $85.00 per job. I use gigspot, intellishops, bare international, best mark, ath power, mystery shoppers.and isops. Give one or all of them a shot.

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