What expression can you use to describe someone who visits a company pretending to be their customer, only to get some information.

  • Do you mean "what is the term for this?"
    – Mick
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 6:34
  • Are you asking about corporate espionage, or something as innocent as evaluating a product in a brick-and-mortar store knowing that you will ultimately be ordering online?
    – James
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 14:54

3 Answers 3


Fishing is a term with a meaning close to what you are referring to:.

  • A search or investigation undertaken with the hope, though not the stated purpose, of discovering information.


  • Ah! I thought the OP meant "How do I write..." My mistake.
    – Mick
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 6:32

Having worked several jobs in retail, finance, food service, and IT, we've always called a person that does this a "secret shopper" if they work for the company, or if they were sent in by someone who works for the company. The purpose is generally to evaluate employees on their procedures.


Undercover, perhaps?




involving secret work within a community or organization, especially for the purposes of police investigation or espionage.

"an undercover police operation"

synonyms: covert, secret, clandestine, private, confidential, conspiratorial, underground, surreptitious, furtive, cloak-and-dagger, hole-and-corner, hugger-mugger, back-alley, backstair, stealthy, closet; intelligence; hidden, concealed, masked, veiled, shrouded; black; informalhush-hush, sneaky

"they were arrested after a three-year undercover investigation"

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