Beware of Kroger Mystery Shopping Scam in Galion Area

With so many local shoppers heading out of town to get groceries, there seems to be some increase on the number of 'Kroger mystery shopper' scammers. So, here's what you need to know.

Kroger mystery shopping scam in Galion area
Kroger mystery shopping scan in Galion area image courtesy of Pixabay

Kroger does use some mystery shoppers, but if you get an offer that sounds too good to be true - it's pretty sure to be a scam.

The Legit Kroger Mystery Shoppers

When you see the difference between the legit shop pay and what the scammers claim you're going to get, it'll really be clearer...

The legitimate Kroger mystery shops pay around $13, and you get a chance to do them maybe once every other month - sometimes less.
  • You aren't going to get rich
  • You aren't even going to make enough to buy a meal at a fast food place unless you have a small family. 
  • You have to spend your own money to buy something at Kroger's - so you have a receipt as proof you were really there.
  • It takes close to an hour to earn that $13. 
  • For the drive, if you go specifically to do the shop, you're spending it all in gas. 
  • PLUS - you don't get paid until  month or so after you do the shop. 
If you want more info on legitimate mystery shopping opportunities, you can find info about it on a website called Penny Hoarder

The Scam Kroger Mystery Shoppers

The scam begins with an email that actually looks like it's coming from Krogers, and it seems be getting sent to people who have Kroger shopper cards, which could be coincidence or it could mean 'some scammer' got ahold of a Kroger shopper cardholder list... who knows...

One of the Galionites on the receiving end of this scam gave me permission to share the messages he received as long as I remove his personal info - which I have done. He stopped short of losing any money, so he didn't contact the local police, but he said he forwarded everything to the Ohio Attorney General's office.

First Contact From the Kroger Mystery Shop Scammers

From: Kroger
Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 9:18 AM
Subject: Job Offer

Kroger Secret Shopper

We have empty positions in our team as a secret customer and we would like for you to be part of it.

You can shop any products you want at your designated store.
Register and if you are selected, you will receive $50 for shopping at Kroger stores and $200-400 payment per assignment. Shoppers are selected randomly every week and they will be contacted via phone or email.
No experience, fees or interview are required just send us your sincere feedback after your shopping experience.
Your review will make a difference for providing better services and products.

Press 'Join Us' and then complete all of the required fields in order to register.
Join Us

The Kroger Co. and Family of Companies. All Comments © Copyright 2018 The Kroger Co. All Rights Reserved

Red Flag # 1 - The real Kroger mystery shops pay $13, not $200 to $400 per assignment.

Red Flag # 2 - In the real Kroger mystery shops, you pay with your own money to get a receipt. In the scam, they claim you will get $50 to shop.

Second Contact From the Kroger Mystery Shop Scammer

The second contact was a text. The scammers get your phone number if you fill out the form at the Join Us link. The text came from (608) 729-8911 and it read:

Dear __, My name is G___ S___ and I have been assigned to be your supervisor regarding the Kroger store secret shopping exercise you applied for. You Will receive payment and assignment letter through USPS mail within 5 business days to enable you to carry out your surveys. A confirmation email will be sent to you before the end of business today.

The email didn't come for several days, according to the Galionite who reached out to me, and this is why and when the person who contacted me got suspicious and began searching the internet for Kroger Mystery shop scams.

Third Contact From the Kroger Mystery Shopper Scammer

The email finally was delivered, and it said:

Dear ___,
See attached

Thank you.
G___ S___

The attachment said:

Further to the requested information you provided to participate in our survey project at Kroger as a mystery shopper, we are pleased to give you this letter of appointment, setting out the details of your employment. You are being appointed to the position of a mystery shopper with us.  I am glad to welcome you on board. I'm assigned to be your supervisor throughout the project. You'll receive payment enclosed with the assignment memo through USPS mail within 3 business days which will cover the funds for shopping at Kroger store and it will also cover your employment remuneration which is $300 per assignment.

Due to the nature of this job, you have to be discreet about it. Please note that you are to act cool and calm throughout the period which you will be carrying out your survey in order not to defeat the purpose of the program. You will write a report about the customer service. Our assignments are focused on the customer experience.

Areas often measured include:

Sales transaction and employee engagement. Sales associate appearance and cleanliness. Brand/promotion awareness and execution. Product or service awareness. Product or service availability. Sales product up-sell approach and delivery. Testing checkout protocols.

You will send your report back to us via email, questionnaire will be sent to you via email and you will have to use the following pointers to prepare your report:

1) How long it took you to shop. 2) Ambiance/outlook of the shop/outlet. 3) Smartness of the attendant. 4) Customer service professionalism. 5) Reaction of personnel under pressure. 6) Information that you think would be helpful. 7) Your comments and impressions.

You are required to reply to this email as an acknowledgement.

Thank You.

G___ S___  Survey Consultant

The recipient chose not to reply as requested, having realized this is a scam.

Fourth Contact From the Kroger Mystery Shop Scammer

The fourth contact came a day later. It was a simple text after the email went unacknowledged. It came from the same phone number, (608) 729-8911 and it read:

Please confirm if you have received my email. Thank you.

Fifth Contact From Kroger Mystery Shopping Scam

While the person who contacted me hasn't received a fifth contact, possibly due to not responding to the email with the attachment, he asked me to go ahead and publish this now to protect anyone else who may be in the midst of receiving these communications.

The part that's supposed to come in the mail is a check with instructions to deposit it in your bank, then when your bank releases the funds, you're asked to go buy iTunes gift cards, take pictures of the front and back of the cards to submit to G___ S___. You're then supposed to be able to return the gift cards and keep the extra $300 for your assessment of the Kroger store.

Then, you return the cards to discover they have been zeroes out. And, it supposedly takes about a week for your bank to discover the check you got in the mail is fake, leaving you on the hook to repay the full amount you paid Kroger's for the iTunes cards and without the $300 for the mystery shop - plus any fees your bank adds for processing the bad check or checks you write counting on the money being there.

What to Do if You're Contacted by a Mystery Shopping Scam or Have Been Scammed

First, don't be embarassed if you've been caught up in this Kroger mystery shopping scam. It's extemely well-done as scams go, even to the point they got a krogershopper URL for people to fill out the form to apply.

Options for reporting this scam include:

Also, I looked up the man sending these messages on LinkedIn, and it's possible there are multiple people using this same name, he looks like a perfectly normal professional. I would venture a guess that he is the victim of identity theft in this scam, so I removed his name from this post.

Final note: While this scam appears to be newly hitting the Galion area, this scam has been going around since 2016, using the same names, emails, and even sometimes the same phone numbers - yet supposedly 'they' can't catch these scammers - you can read some of the complaints at Online Threat Alerts.


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