I’m amazed that there never seems to be a shortage of scams. You would think that eventually crooks would either run out of ideas or people would become more educated in what is going on around them. How many times do you have to be warned before touching a flame that you’ll get burned? It seems some people still have the opinion that it couldn’t happen to them.
Recently in Arizona, Nevada and California there has been an increase in what is referred to as a secret shopper scam. This scam involves individuals receiving a package, usually from out of the country, that states you has been personally selected for this opportunity. In the package are instructions for you to go to a your favorite store to purchase items and to report back as to how well the sales staff was during the transaction. Not only are you going to be able to keep what you purchase but they are going to pay you as well.
Sounds easy enough but here is were they scam you. A realistic looking checks for a large amounts of money is included in the package to cover the items purchased as well as your fee for your time. You are to take the check to a bank and have it cashed, then wire the left over money to a person out of the country.
One woman in Dulluth, GA was jailed for trying to cash one of the fraudulent checks. She was definitely a victim but had to spend two nights in jail before she could convince authorities of her innocence. Then had to deal with having an arrest record.
Below is a list of suggestions that should bring up a red flag when being presented with an opportunity that sounds too good to be true.
- If you did not buy a lottery ticket, you did not win the lottery.
- The caller or letter asks the “winner” to wire money to another state or country.
- Money must be sent immediately or the prize will be lost.
- The “winner” is asked to keep the winnings a secret.
- The “winner” is asked for account information so the prize can be directly deposited.
- Tips for verifying the authenticity of legitimate mystery-shopper jobs:
- Legitimate secret-shopper companies generally do not advertise for jobs or through unsolicited email or mail.
- Scams often “guarantee” a job and ask for fees. It is not necessary to pay any fee to apply for a legitimate job.
- Scammers usually offer large sums of money in the form of fake checks to entice victims.
- Use caution when dealing with any company that does not have an established office.
Do not depend on the funds from any cashier’s check until your bank has verified its authenticity. Legitimate checks can take up to 10 days to verify. Until then, the victim could be held financially responsible.
If you have been scammed and would like to file a scam report, please click here.