Believe it or not, you can get paid to receive mail. This is what is called a “mail decoy.” There are some different companies that pay people to be mail decoys, and the purpose of the job is so that companies can see how efficiently their mailings are being delivered. Note this is not the same as getting free money in the mail, but you will get paid for doing it.
What does a mail decoy do?
As stated above, you're allowing companies to send their mailings to your mailbox. For the most part, you'll get catalogs, magazines, flyers, and so forth. After receiving the mail, you let the mail decoy company know what you got and on what day.
The process for inputting the mail differs from company to company. Some may want you to do it online, while others may ask that you call an 800 number and input a code from the mailings.
This sounds fishy. Is it a scam?
Absolutely not. I am currently doing some mail decoy work for one company and it's not a scam. The people who send you magazines and catalogs do have a need for this service. They need to be able to track how quickly their mailings get to people after they are sent out.
But what about all the junk in your mailbox? Isn't that a pain?
Some people don't like the idea of it, which is why they pass on mail decoy opportunities. I have personally not found it to be that much of a hassle. Some of the catalogs I receive are pretty interesting. The ones that aren't just get recycled. If you don't think you'd like the extra mail, this might not be the extra income-opportunity for you.
How much does being a mail decoy pay?
The pay varies depending on who you are signed up with. It's not full-time work so you don't get full-time pay. You can expect to receive a little extra cash for going to the trouble.
Will you get the mail forever once you're signed up?
If you decide you don't want to be a mail decoy any longer, you will no longer receive the mailings. The only exception might be if you received a catalog and actually decided to order something from it.
Where can I sign up to be a mail decoy?
There are a few different places. Here's a quick rundown of the ones I know about:
US Monitor – Pays $10 per month plus .25 per each piece of mail received.
SBKC – This is a company that will take your junk mail and, in return, give you gift cards.
The Hauser Group – Just like US Monitor, they only need decoys in certain areas.
Quotas – This is a company based out of Germany that you can do this for across multiple countries. Note that I haven't linked them here because it shows their website is “not secure.” It's a very old and dated site, which is probably why it says that. But I have known about them for a long time and never heard they are not legit. You can easily do a Google search to find the link for yourself.
Reportez – This site looked a little sketchy to me, but the digging I've done indicates it is legitimate. They put you on something called a “scanner panel.” You get a handheld scanner that plugs into your computer. It's used for scanning the barcodes that are on the mail you receive. Payment is in points that you can redeem for different things.
Is there a guarantee I'll get approved if I apply?
Unfortunately, no. For example, US Monitor is pretty limited because they only need one person per zip code. I am not certain that SBKC is always open, either.
If you're looking for a quicker way to earn extra money where there are no concerns about getting approved, try Ibotta. This is an app that pays you to grocery shop that we've used and been paid by multiple times. I recommend it here because it is one of those “lazy” ways to earn extra money that doesn't require much effort, and no one will send you junk mail. 🙂
Good luck if you register at any of these places!
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Post originally published October 28, 2011. Updated and republished on March 12, 2019.