Frequently, people ask me how they can make some extra money and I'm always happy to share what I do with them. Some just need a few extra bucks to make it through the month and others are looking for life altering, job replacing type income. From the comfort of your home, the internet can be utilized to accomplish either of these tasks. All it takes is a little bit of searching and a bit researching to find legitimate opportunities. Once discovered, the application of ideas and lessons learned need to be implemented or they will be worthless to you.

Just to give you an idea, as an example: For over two decades, I made my living by providing merchant services (credit card processing) to clients in my local area. This was a "feet-on-the-street" type sales job. I thoroughly enjoyed the work and built long lasting relationships with my clients that still exist today. The key is that I take care of my merchant's; they stay with me and refer others. The main problem, if you want to call it that, is that my market was limited by geographic location and the number of people I could contact in a day. Do not get me wrong, it produced a six figure income for me and provides for residual income that keeps on paying. But, in 2005, I was diagnosed with stage 4 squalors cell neck cancer. The resulting radiation reduced my vocal strength and vocal endurance, thereby, taking me out of the field. What a blessing ! What happened next was that I created a website to educate merchants on how the industry worked, drafted articles and offered a FREE email course entitled Understanding Credit Card Processing. The result was that now my market is nationwide and not limited to western Michigan. And, with the internet and electronic signatures, I am able to transact new business from the comfort of my home. Business is booming and my client base continues to grow and, so does my income. But, that's not why I write this article.

While my main business is pretty much on autopilot, I began searching other methods of making money on-line to help, at first, family members, then friends and acquaintances .. Now, I have a following of people I've never met because I help people and care about them. Trust me, there are many legitimate alternative income sources out there and then again, there are some real SCAMS that people, unfortunately, fall for. That is what this article is about.

As you may imagine, since I've been actively on-line for many years, I get tons of emails and a lot of them are, quite frankly, SPAM. Once in a while something peeks my curiosity so I pursue further. A couple weeks ago, I received an email looking for Mystery Shoppers. I thought I'd check into it for some of the people that had been asking for something to do to make a few bucks. Now I know this is a legitimate type business because I have friends in retail and they have told of "being shopped" so management could see how they are doing. So, I responded by answering a few questions. A few days go by and, guess what, I was approved and a package for my first assignment would be on its way soon. Then, my wife and I went to Maui for a couple weeks (a nice perk of making your own schedule and having disposable income). While I was gone, I received an email saying that my first assignment was in the mail. Shortly after that, I received the following email:

"Kindly be informed that you have not provided a status update on the package that was delivered to you via USPS to execute the mystery shopper task assigned.Please understand the importance of promptness in returning the completed evaluation. due time.

We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.

So, I responded back that I was out of town and would get to it as soon as I returned. Last week when we got home, sure enough there was the Priority Mail Package with detailed instructions and a "Cashier's Check" for $ 1,875.53 … wow, this Mystery Shopper thing looks pretty lucrative … yah right! So, the instructions were to deposit the "Cashier's Check" in my account, keep $ 200 commission for my work and go to Wal-Mart and purchase something for $ 51 that I could keep. And, I was supposed to make note of the address of the store, the employee, the product purchased and the cost, etc … "the evaluation". Then, I was supposed to take the balance of the deposited money out in cash and wire $ 812 each to two individuals through a money transfer service and "evaluate" both of these transactions. At this point, it was very obvious this was totally a SCAM and not at all how legitimate Mystery Shopper assignments work. Just for grins, I contacted the Credit Union that the "Cashier's Check" was drawn on and they responded with the following:

Thank you for reaching out to us.

You are correct. That is a fraudulent check. We recommend you destroy the check to get it out of circulation. You can also file a police report if you wish, however we do not require it. This is already being investigated.

Mystery Shopping is a legitimate business and there are legitimate companies out there that hire and will pay for those types of services. Do your thorough research before making any decisions and NEVER PAY them for an assignment … they pay you. A list of companies that hire mystery shoppers is available for free, and legitimate mystery shopper jobs are listed on the internet for free.

If this is something that you feel interested in, visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), search their database of mystery shopper assignments and learn how to apply for them.

Wishing you the best of luck in your endeavors, whatever they may be. Thanks for reading.

Beware of Mystery Shopper Offers

Beware of Mystery Shopper Offers