Secret Shopper Scams


Thought Leadership

Secret Shopper Scams

Bear Huddleston

shopping carts

Secret Shopper email applications are spreading through the internet again.  Shoppers beware!  These applications are a scam! 

What is a secret (mystery) shopper?  A secret shopper is an individual enlisted to assess the client experience of a business by acting like an ordinary customer. While genuine secret shoppers exist, most major companies do not use these mystery shopping service. The sample I will be using below is a "secret shopper" application for Walgreens. Please note,  Walgreens officially stated they do not use secret shopping services.

In this blog, I will be going over one of many secret shopper emails we intercepted.

Walgreen Secret Shopper Scam

Secret Shopper Email Application

In this email scam, the scammer was claiming to be from Walgreens.  In the FROM ADDRESS, the email address was not a genuine Walgreens email address.  The email promoted a secret shopping position and offered some nice incentives if picked but you must apply.  Keep in mind, the email stated "shoppers are selected randomly every week and they will be contacted via phone or email" which means a con artist would be contacting you.


Not legitimate URL


Examining the URL, the link was not a legitimate website of Walgreens. It lead to a Secret Shopping Application Page that was not affiliated by Walgreens.


Secret Shopper Applicaton Page


After submitting the application, you would be redirected to Walgreen Career page.


Application Redirect

Beware!  If you submitted your personal information through the secret shopper application, scammers will send an email telling you've been chosen for the position.  They will later send you a check by mail (within 14 days) to use as secret shopping funds and payment for the job.  They will inform you to go to the store and purchase gift cards and send them pictures of these cards with the PIN scratched off.  When the scammers get the gift card information, they will cut correspondence.  Within a couple of days, the bank will advise you that the check is fake and since most of the check (the secret shopping funds and payment) have just been spent, you are financially responsible for the check, leaving you in debt and the scammers with funded gift cards.


If you receive an email about mystery or secret shopping.  Avoid!  It's a scam.  If you are interested in mystery shopping, contact the official store and ask if they provide such an opportunity.

If you are an Zix | AppRiver customer, forward any suspicious emails to and our 24/7 trained cybersecurity specialists will review the email for you.

If you're not an Zix | AppRiver customer, contact us for a free trial of our Advanced Email Security