If someone claiming to represent the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) OR any Mystery Shopping company sends you a check and asks you to cash it, wire most of it to someone else, and report on your experience with the wire service....don't do it! It's a scam! Someone is doing that very thing and, in some cases, is providing a toll-free number for their scam targets to call...and they answer the phone as if it were really MSPA. It is not.
Fake check scammers have been around for many years, adopting identities that suit them, trying to appear legitimate. They may represent themselves as officials from a lottery, telling you to cash a check they send you and wire a portion back to them because the check mistakenly was for more than you supposedly won. They may respond to your ad to sell your car by sending you a check for more than your asking price, then contact you to ask you to wire the difference back to them so they can fly out to pick up the car. Fake check scammers have a thousand stories. Don't fall for them. Especially don't fall for a claim that MSPA wants you to cash a check and do some mystery shopping! We will NEVER send you a check and ask you to wire a portion back to us. Anyone who claims to be MSPA and asks you to do that is a fraud.
If you receive a check, regardless of who it is from, asking you to cash it and wire a portion to someone else, DON'T! Instead, immediately contact the organizations listed below.
Call police (they may not be able to do anything, but filing a police report can help if discover later if the scammers are caught)
File report with your state's Attorney General
File and report with www.phonebusters.com.
File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
If the package with the check came by U.S. mail, contact your local post office and ask for the Postal Inspector (be sure to take a copy of the stamped envelope and its contents).
A useful resource about avoiding mystery shopping scams and finding legitimate mystery shopping opportunities may be found on the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt151.shtm
Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA)-Mystery Shopping jobs