Secret Shopping Sites Looking to Put 'Real Money' in Your Pocket

ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis and Eric Noll report:

Todd Gibbons may look like an ordinary shopper but he's not.

He walks the aisles of stores, snapping photographs of shampoo bottles, laundry detergent and hair dye - and he gets paid to do so.

Gibbons is a secret shopper.

And in the eight months that he's been working, he's raked in more than $12,000.

Related: Dear ABC News Fixer: Secret Shopper or Sneaky Swindle?

During his spare time, Gibbons "secret shops" using a free app called Gigwalk. Big brands like FritoLay have started hiring apps like Gigwalk and Easyshift to check up on their products and check out their competition. Gigwalk posts quick jobs around towns for its members to complete.

"[A typical gig] takes about 15 to 20 minutes," he said. "That's it. [And] you get paid money…. I think it's pretty easy and for side money, it's really easy job."

Gigwalk said there were about 400,000 walkers across America. Since its launch in May 2011, Gigwalk said more than 4 million gigs had been been performed. On average, they make $10 to $15 an hour. Gibbons is one of Gigwalk's top earners. While available gigs vary by location, there are postings for all 50 states, according to Gigwalk.

The "Real Money" team joined Nicole Feliciano, editor of Momtrends, with financial expert Farnoosh Torabi so they could try Gigwalk for themselves at drugstore Duane Reade.

Related: Dear ABC News Fixer: Is this a secret shopper scam?

"The task wants you to check how the different products are displayed on the shelves," Torabi said. "This is all secret shopping and once it's completed and approved, you get paid."

Feliciano took a few pictures, answered some survey questions and was finished the task in five minutes.

By doing one Gigwalk a week, the "Real Money" team found that Feliciano could make $264 this year.

Torabi, however, cautioned against online scams that offer the same deal.

"You want to make sure before you give any of these sites your information, even if it's just your email address, that you're working with the most reputable sites," she said.

She recommended sites likes ShopAtHome and eBates, which both give people cash back for shopping through their web browser. Feliciano said she'd found eBates two years and had so far made $392.

Sites like MySurvey and iPinion also pay to fill out brand surveys. Some companies even accept social currency instead of cash.

At one Marc Jacobs pop-up shop, customers could get items such as perfume bottles in exchange for a tweet or Facebook or Instagram post promoting the product.

"Instead of giving money, you're actually just showing your support for a product," said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing at COTY, which makes the perfume. "And then you get the product!"

"The online landscape for making money easily on the go for busy people like us is exploding," Torabi said.

(Credit: ABC News)