Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Job Opportunity

How to Get Work as a Mystery Shopper

Kelly Hancock, a spokesperson with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association in Dallas, says being a medical mystery shopper patient requires no experience. The job is open to people of all ages, but the number of men and women 50 and older working as undercover medical shoppers is “growing tremendously,” she adds.

One of the reasons? The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) uses mystery shoppers who are eligible for these programs, usually people age 58 and older.

CMS mystery shoppers—supplied by outside companies—rate insurance agents who sell Medicare Advantage plans. They are told to look out for misleading information about the plans, and to report whether the salesman was clear and honest in all his dealings.

“We are constantly looking for seniors,” says Jodi Manfredi, manager at TrendSource, a company that offers mystery shopping services. Her company has more than 40,000 mystery shoppers and 340,000 applicants. Whether working in a department store or hospital, applicants must be able to assess situations and experiences, and write their assessments clearly.

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association provides links to different member companies offering employment, like TrendSource.

Medical mystery patients evaluate cleanliness, patient confidentiality violations—like divulging patient information in public areas—and overall service. They note whether the facility is organized and polite or slow and rude.

These “patients,” however, do not usually assess medical skills. Instead, they get a general feel for the clinic, hospital or doctor’s office, Manfredi says.

Hancock says the schedules of secret patients vary, so figuring their average weekly salary is difficult. But she says they can make from $8 to $20 per assignment. Mystery patients, like mystery shoppers in department stores, are independent contractors, so they often work for many different companies at the same time, and are free to accept or turn down jobs.

All mystery shoppers need to pay attention to detail. They must also “be able to follow through on the assignment they are asked to complete and have very basic computer skills,” Hancock says. And they must meet deadlines, she adds. After an assignment, mystery patients submit reports to their employers, which are then turned over to the clients.

Hancock warns people interested in working as mystery shoppers to beware of scams. “Avoid companies that charge a fee to provide a list of mystery shopping opportunities,” Hancock says. “The reality is that all of that information can be found online for free.”

Tauren Dyson is an intern at the AARP Bulletin.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points