Mystery Shop Providers Association (MSPA) Notices

MSPA Networking Site for Certified Shoppers

MSPA has established a new online presence, named the MSPA Listening Post, to help enhance communications between MSPA member companies and MSPA Gold-Certified and Silver Certified Shoppers.

The site, built on a highly-regarded social networking platform, enables Certified Shoppers and MSPA members to communicate on virtually any issue of interest to the parties. Shoppers and MSPA Member company representatives can post their photos, share comments and ideas, seek answers to questions, and otherwise engage in interchange one would expect to find in a social networking site.

For more information, go to:

Mystery Shopper Blog

The MSPA has created a mystery shopper blog. Please visit the blog and post comments, ask questions and gain valuable information.

Go to:

Update on Fraud Associated with MoneyGram


MoneyGram International has agreed to a settlement in the amount of $18 million in a case in which the money transfer company does not admit wrongdoing.

The FTC accused MoneyGram of allowing its money transfer system to be used by people conducting fraud. The fraudsters persuade their victims to wire the proceeds of bogus checks to other members of the scam ring. MoneyGram claims it is acting aggressively to stop the scammers, but did agree to the $18 million settlement to help reimburse scam victims.

Details from the FTC media release, including how victims can go about trying to get reimbursement, can be seen at the following URL:

MSPA Consumer Warning

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association has alerted its members of a potential scam. In response to that, we in turn are alerting our shoppers accordingly. You may visit the MSPA website at

Shopper’s Critique rarely, if ever, conducts mystery shops involving check cashing or money transfers. We never ask shoppers to send us money for any reason. If someone posing as a representative of Shopper’s Critique ever contacts you with a cashier’s check they would like to send you to have cashed, call us before you try to cash the check…it is a scam!

Click on the following link for more information:

Progress on Fraudulent Check Scams

Fraudulent Cheque Scammer Receives Jail Time Following Competition Bureau and Toronto Strategic Partnership Action

Toronto, May 5, 2008 – A cooperative effort between the Competition Bureau and the Toronto Strategic Partnership has resulted in a total of 20 months in jail for an individual involved in an advanced fee lottery and cheque clearing scam.

To see the rest of the article, use the following:

Resource Center

We have built a new resource center for certified shoppers! Here, you can manage your certification account or use our new tools accomplish tasks such as creating your own personalized invoices to send to mystery shopping companies. Soon you will be able to create personalized business cards as well!

To login, go to

Search Mystery Shopper Jobs

You can search other mystery shopping company jobs at the following link:

MSPA Shopper Certification

The MSPA recognizes that Mystery Shopping is a profession, not just a hobby. As in the case of other professions, we believe that a means of addressing shopper standardization, education and certification is necessary. In response to this need, we have developed this on-line Silver Certification program and a more in-depth Gold Certificate program to be offered in person. Companies are always looking to hire the best and brightest, and this certification is one method of setting you apart from the crowd.

For more information go to General Certification Questions.

Silver Certification

The Online Silver Certification Course has been in existence since 2003 and has certified over 50,000 shoppers since that time. The MSPA has responded to the comments and suggestions from many shoppers and shopping companies to make the course more extensive and educational, and in doing so have expanded it greatly. The MSPA is proud to offer our new and educationally improved 2007 Online Silver Certification course to every shopper seeking to be the best in their chosen field.

This is the first step in a two-step process. The Silver Certification consists of a $15 online test. If you pass this test, you will be given a confirmation number. You will be able to use your e-mail address and this confirmation number to sign up for Gold Certification conferences. Click the following link to proceed to online Silver Certification:

Gold Certification

In 2002, the MSPA debuted our first ever Gold Certification Workshop. This workshop was very successful and proved to be in high demand from both shoppers and Mystery Shopping companies alike. In 2003, we took the in-person workshop nationwide with an aggressive schedule of visiting 23 cities across the US.

For 2007, we will be visiting more than 30 cities across the US and will be hosting our 4th Annual MSPA Educational Conference For Shoppers in Grapevine, Texas (near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport) in July.

You will experience many opportunities to learn, share and develop your business during our Gold Certification workshops. Another highlight of most Gold Workshops will be meeting Mystery Shopping company owners and/or staff members in the cities where they are based.

Gold Certification tells companies who want to hire you that you have been trained in the essentials of mystery shopping and you have agreed to uphold professional standards and ethics. You can obtain Gold Certification only by completing one of our in person workshops. Gold Certification demonstrates you’ve taken the time and made the effort to study and become an expert mystery shopper.

The Gold Certification Workshop will include 7 hours of classroom time and a one hour lunch and will cost $99 per attendee. Refreshment breaks will be included, and LUNCH WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF YOUR WORKSHOP!

You cannot sign up for a Gold Certification Workshop unless you are Silver Certified, however, you may view the locations Gold Certification workshops by clicking the following link:

Gold Certification DVD

Please check into the new MSPA Gold Certification DVD.

It’s here…what so many shoppers have been waiting for…The MSPA Gold DVD is finally available! Now, finally, there’s a way to become MSPA Gold Certified without having to wait for a Gold Certification Workshop to come to a city convenient to you. Now, become Gold certified on your own time, at your own pace from virtually anywhere. We’re sure you have questions, so we’ve answered many of the most common questions below.


Current Nevada law states that you MUST be an employee of a Private Investigator if you are going to perform shops in Nevada. It is illegal for you to perform mystery shops as an independent contractor. Mystery Shopping Companies and Shoppers caught shopping illegally face fines of $2500 per instance and more. While we still encourage you to educate yourself by completing the MSPA certifications, we want to make sure you are operating legally, as well.

PC Repairs

Need help with your PC? Discounted Tech Support for Shoppers!

The MSPA has partnered with a nationwide computer support company that can help you get your computer, gadgets, email and home network back under control. The best part? You’ll never have to leave your house, unplug your computer or cart that heavy box to a repair shop.


Mystery shopping is a great opportunity to earn a few extra dollars or get a nice meal. It can be a super way to help improve customer service. But scammers try to take advantage of its allure to take your money! Don’t let it happen to you!

Several scammers have recently used the MSPA name and gave email addresses that LOOK LIKE but ARE NOT MSPA email addresses (the addresses we have seen so far include: and The scammer claims to represent MSPA and it looks almost legitimate, until you see that you are not responding to an MSPA email address but, instead, an AOL address (the ones we’ve seen so far: and The scammers are trying to trap shoppers into letting their guards down because he is from a legitimate organization…but he IS NOT!

Other scammers use the MSPA logo on websites or in emails. They are trying to clothe themselves in legitimacy…don’t buy it! If you receive an email invitation to become a mystery shopper for MSPA, don’t believe it! We don’t engage mystery shoppers, only our member companies do.

Always look at the email addresses and web addresses these scammers use…they are seldom the “real” addresses of a legitimate company. If a shopper has any question about whether an email is legitimate or not, check it out thoroughly before sharing your personal information and NEVER cash a check sent to you in advance of an assignment…that’s a sure sign the deal is a scam.

Man Convicted in School Scam

July 23rd, 2010


LOS ANGELES - A Santa Ynez man who falsely promised bartending and “mystery shopper” jobs to people around the country has been convicted of 10 federal fraud charges.

Steven P. Todorovic, 40, was found guilty yesterday afternoon of seven counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud, charges that carry a statutory maximum penalty of 200 years in federal prison.

Todorovic set up several companies in Santa Barbara including American Bartending Institute and Consumer Response Group to market and sell his bogus training program, “certifications,” and job referrals. The evidence presented at Todorovic’s trial showed that he orchestrated a scheme that placed advertisements in newspapers across the country offering bartending and “mystery shopping” positions. Those who inquired about the jobs were then misled into thinking they had to purchase his company’s certification programs, promising that the certifications would come with referrals to bars and retail establishments hiring bartenders or mystery shoppers. The certifications, however, were worthless, and Todorovic had no jobs to offer.

The evidence at trial showed that more than 80,000 victims across the United States were defrauded by the scheme, which took in more than $6.1 million. Todorovic is scheduled to be sentenced on October 18 by United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr.

The case against Todorovic was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The matter was referred by the Federal Trade Commission, which had filed a civil lawsuit against Todorovic.

Mystery Shopping Providers Association Site