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Re: Mystery Shopper Job Proposal - scam?

Active Member
Rachel B Member Since: May 25, 2019
1 of 7

I was invited to submit a proposal as a "mystery shopper", where I basically order an item from Amazon and my payment supposedly covers the the cost of the product plus a little extra. These are their instructions:

 

"Very simple.
Buy our vegan protein powder on Amazon and take a photo of the front and back of the product once it arrives.
That's it.
Requirements: Must be based in the US
Payment: We are paying $50 for this task, which is also intended to cover the cost of the product ($34.99) AND shipping (which should be free).
You get to keep the product."

 

The client doesn't give any details about the company beyond that. I wouldn't mind doing this job because I'm getting a product for free, but I'm a little wary about having to make a purchase prior to recieving payment here, and the client's ambiguity. I couldn't find anywhere whether the client has verified payment or not. Is this within the lines of Upwork's protocol, or is it a scam I should just steer clear of?

 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 7

Scam?

Probably.

 

Mystery shopping is a legitimate endeavor.

And it is possible to legitimately get jobs as a mystery shopper.

But if you see this on Upwork, it is probably somebody trying to make money from you, rather than actually trying to enlist your services and pay you for your time and effort.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 7

Rachel:

I honestly do NOT see anything in this job description that violates Amazon.com ToS or Upwork ToS.

 

I'm suspicious, but I don't see anything that means the job posting needs to be removed from Upwork. If somebody knows better, then please correct me.

 

The offer is that they are paying you money that covers the cost of the product and shipping, which essentially means that you earn zero money, but you get the product.

 

The problem is... What if they decide to NOT pay you. They could do that.

 

So you don't want to pay up front. That could be the scam.

 

If you really want to try this out, then tell them you will agree to do the job if they do one of these things:

a) They will pay for the product and have it shipped to you; you will take the photograph when it arrives and send them the photo

[or]

b) You will personally order and pay for the product, but they will pay you the cost of the product along with shipping up front, either as a fully paid-and-released esrow payment, or using the "Pay Bonus" tool, plus they will pay extra to cover the 20% fee that Upwork charges.

 

If they agree to either of these things, then you may proceed. Otherwise: No. Because that would mean it is just a scam.

Community Leader
william b Member Since: Jan 3, 2015
4 of 7

RB,

 

If the client does not have a Verified Payment Method, then do NOT waste your time/effort/money with this almost certainly scammer client. 

If the client does have a Verified Payment Method then you should request that they place the ENTIRE PAYMENT AMOUNT IN ESCROW before you take any action, then request that they release payment before you make any purchases, and make it clear that these "requests" are 100% non-negotiable.

This will certainly allow you to see their real professional intentions.

 

Work safe, work smart.

 

 

Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
5 of 7

Rachel B wrote:

I was invited to submit a proposal as a "mystery shopper", where I basically order an item from Amazon and my payment supposedly covers the the cost of the product plus a little extra. These are their instructions:

 

"Very simple.
Buy our vegan protein powder on Amazon and take a photo of the front and back of the product once it arrives.
That's it.
Requirements: Must be based in the US
Payment: We are paying $50 for this task, which is also intended to cover the cost of the product ($34.99) AND shipping (which should be free).
You get to keep the product."

 

The client doesn't give any details about the company beyond that. I wouldn't mind doing this job because I'm getting a product for free, but I'm a little wary about having to make a purchase prior to recieving payment here, and the client's ambiguity. I couldn't find anywhere whether the client has verified payment or not. Is this within the lines of Upwork's protocol, or is it a scam I should just steer clear of?

 


Maybe it's a scam, maybe not. I think I've seen job posts like this and freelancers that have done them.

 

But after subtracting their cost from the $50, and then Upwork's cut - $12 hardly seems worth the effort. And shipping is not free unless you're an Amazon Prime customer. So that may be $12 minus shipping, which could be another $5-8 ... depending on the weight of the product.

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
6 of 7

Virginia F wrote:

Rachel B wrote:

I was invited to submit a proposal as a "mystery shopper", where I basically order an item from Amazon and my payment supposedly covers the the cost of the product plus a little extra. These are their instructions:

 

"Very simple.
Buy our vegan protein powder on Amazon and take a photo of the front and back of the product once it arrives.
That's it.
Requirements: Must be based in the US
Payment: We are paying $50 for this task, which is also intended to cover the cost of the product ($34.99) AND shipping (which should be free).
You get to keep the product."

 

The client doesn't give any details about the company beyond that. I wouldn't mind doing this job because I'm getting a product for free, but I'm a little wary about having to make a purchase prior to recieving payment here, and the client's ambiguity. I couldn't find anywhere whether the client has verified payment or not. Is this within the lines of Upwork's protocol, or is it a scam I should just steer clear of?

 


Maybe it's a scam, maybe not. I think I've seen job posts like this and freelancers that have done them.

 

But after subtracting their cost from the $50, and then Upwork's cut - $12 hardly seems worth the effort. And shipping is not free unless you're an Amazon Prime customer. So that may be $12 minus shipping, which could be another $5-8 ... depending on the weight of the product.


This. Beyond that, it's slimy for sure. The client is artificially inflating his numbers for placement and is getting a chunk of his money back too (via your purchase). It's intended for eventual fraud but may not be considered fraud by UW. Why not flag it? UW will decide. I know some forms of attempting to defraud (like academic fraud) are not allowed on UW. I don't know what their stance is on requiring hires to purchase something.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 7

They will want you to write a review and THAT is a violation of both Amazon's and Upwork's terms of service.

Paid reviews (even just for free product) are strictly forbidden on Amazon (except for free ebooks, where they must be marked as "paid")

 

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