Australia’s financial services regulator has warned consumers about a scam that is pretending to recruit people for market research gigs.
ASIC said that some cold-callers are claiming to be organising a ‘shadow shopping’ or ‘mystery shopping’ project for ASIC – that is, recruiting people to purchase services such as financial advice to help assess the standards in the market.
“These scammers claim to be looking for shadow shoppers as part of an ASIC compliance and monitoring campaign,” according to ASIC.
“The scam maintains that it will pay you for your time and may encourage you to meet in person or attend a presentation after which you will receive a questionnaire to complete.”
The scammers promote their services at www.theshadowshopper.com – a website that looks legitimate because it features real media articles about real ASIC shadow shopping exercises.
However, the website “makes false representations that their work is associated with ASIC”, the regulator said.
ASIC has no involvement with this website or its operators, and is undertaking inquiries into the activities of the operators.
ASIC urges anyone who receives contact in these circumstances or is referred to this website to not respond.
From time to time ASIC carries out genuine consumer research including shadow shops, however we only work with accredited market research companies. If you are contacted by a company representing that they are undertaking research for ASIC you can call ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630 to check.
This scam is not connected or associated with legitimate market research firm Shadow Shopper (www.shadowshopper.com.au), which brought it to ASIC’s attention.