ICC/Decision Services Issues Scam Warning to Consumers

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New York-based customer experience management company warns consumers of potentially fraudulent mystery shopper scams.

ICC Decision Services

It’s an unfortunate reality that scam artists are using the façade of mystery shopping to target consumers throughout the U.S.

The country’s leading provider of customer experience management services, ICC/Decision Services, is warning consumers across the country of possible scams relating to mystery shopping services which have been brought to the attention of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), a trade organization which unites companies providing secret shopping services, such as ICC/Decision Services.

The MSPA consistently warns consumers of groups that could potentially use their name, or the names of their member companies to carry-out fraudulent activities.

Unfortunately, scammers have taken advantage of the name and reputation of these companies. Common fraudulent activities include sending fake checks to consumers, and then asking for these checks to be cashed and a portion of the money sent to the “mystery shopping company.” Another frequently used scam occurs when individuals are asked to pay a fee in order to become a secret shopper, generally with the promise of starting a lucrative career in the industry.

“It’s an unfortunate reality that scam artists are using the façade of mystery shopping to target consumers throughout the U.S.,” said Kevin Leifer, VP of Client Success for ICC/Decision Services. “Mystery shopping" services are a pivotal part of how we gauge and assess the performance of the companies we work with, but we want to encourage consumers to be aware of the potential for abuse that occurs within the industry.”

ICC/Decision Services, which provides legitimate secret shopper services to help companies improve staff performance and revenue, encourages consumers to be cautious when taking part in secret shopper opportunities, to avoid being the victim of a potential scam. ICC/Decision Services recommends shoppers follow recommendations set forth by the MSPA, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, including:

  •     Researching the background of a mystery shopping company prior to taking advantage of any offer. Many fraudulent scam artists will send letters with logos that appear to be legitimate, or even links to websites, but it’s important that consumers research these claims, regardless of how authentic they appear.
  •     Perform an online search of reviews of the mystery shopping company.
  •     Never pay a company to work for them—legitimate mystery shopping companies compensate their shoppers, rather than asking them to pay an upfront fee. This includes signing up for “certification” classes to become a mystery shopper.
  •     Never cash a check or wire money as part of a mystery shopping job or opportunity.

The FTC encourages consumers to visit mysteryshop.org, which is the website for the MSPA. The site provides a database of mystery shopping assignments, as well as information pertaining to their specific application procedures.

About ICC/Decision Services

Based in New York City, ICC/Decision Services is a privately held company that services the needs of global companies, including CVS, Wal-Mart and Coach. With 34 years in the industry, ICC/Decision Services is the preeminent provider of Mystery Shopper, Customer Survey and Compliance Auditing programs. For more information visit the ICC/Decision Services website at http://www.iccds.com.

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