Be A Mail Decoy: Check Your Mail For Extra Cash
US Monitor and other mail decoy companies pay you for something you do anyway – you get paid to get your mail!
So now you’re probably wondering:
What Is A Mail Decoy?
Mail decoys are people who receive mail – catalogs, magazines, postcards, and other mailings – and report when they receive the pieces.
Companies that offer mail decoy and tracking services, such as US Monitor, help their client companies ensure that publications they send out are received in a timely fashion, and they also monitor unauthorized use of clients’ mailing lists.
In addition to the date of receipt, companies will often want to know if their publication arrived in good condition. And that’s where you come in as a mail decoy.
Mail sent to decoys is coded, typically with a string of numbers, and often under a different name (sent to your address, but addressed to a decoy name to help identify the client). You will note the date, and report it along with the code and any other required information via phone or website.
What Do You Need?
The only real qualification is that you must be in a geographical area where mail decoys are needed, and each company will let you know. Most mail decoy companies let you start immediately after being approved.
Depending on the company, you might need a scanner and a digital camera, and a place to store mail.
How Much Does It Pay?
The pay for being a mail decoy varies depending on the company you work with, and it can be a small amount of cash, points toward gift cards, or even free postage stamps. Some reports claim you can make as much as $200 a month as a mail decoy.
A Few Things To Consider
- You may receive a lot of mail, much of which might be considered “junk”. But many have reported that they enjoy some of the mail that they recieve, such as catalogs and magazines, and might even subscribe to some of the services.
- Some companies, like US Monitor and The Hauser Group, ask that you keep the mail for a month or longer.
- You’ll need to have a way to organize the mail, as they will on occasion ask you to send back an item that you received months earlier.
- If you are away from home for an extended period, you may need to have someone who can “fill in” while you are away.
- Some companies might ask for your social security number. Though I understand being wary about this, they need it to report your income for tax purposes (if you earn enough). Of course, as with all opportunities, you should only proceed if you are comfortable.
How Do I Apply?
Here are four mail decoy companies and some information about each:
The Hauser Group
The Hauser Group takes applications here. When you apply, they will search your zip code and ask a few screening questions.
According to their site
All you have to do is mark the date received on each special piece as it comes in, enter it on our Web site, and save the mailings for a period of time. We may occasionally ask that you send us specific items.
If they do ask for items to be sent back, they send pre-paid UPS call tags or reimburse you for the mailing expense.
Specific compensation is not mentioned on the site.
I’ve seen some unfavorable reviews about The Hauser Group regarding pay. If you are interested in the opportunity, you can contact them and ask about pay and pay frequency. Their contact page also mentions mystery shopping and “making phone calls from home” opportunities.
According to my research, US Monitor guarantees that you will make $10 a month. In addition, you make 25 cents for every piece of mail processed and they estimate you will receive between 10 and 40 pieces of mail per day.
However there is no guarantee you will receive more than the $10 each month, and pay rate might have changed.
US Monitor may only accept one person per zip code, so it could be a while between the time you apply and when you get accepted.
Small Business Knowledge Center (SBK Center)
SBK Center lets you get paid for the junk mail you already receive. SBK Center conducts market research studies of direct mail and email marketing. Instead of sending you more mail, SBK Center wants you to send your junk mail to them. In some cases, you can forward your junk email as well.
Your mail earns points that you can redeem for Visa gift cards.
Once you are approved as a panelist, all you have to do is send your junk mail once a week in pre-paid envelopes that are provided to you.
Quotas is a company based in Germany that conducts international postal surveys.
You will use their website to report the date that you receive mail, and you earn points that you can redeem for vouchers or payments. You could even choose to donate to Doctors Without Borders.
Get more information about Quotas postal quality surveys here, and if you choose to register, do so here.
Do you think being a mail decoy is something you will enjoy doing? Or do you already have experience as a decoy with US Monitor or one of the other companies? Let me know in comments!
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