Beware of Mystery Shopping Scams

If someone you don’t know, wants you to pay you by check but then wants you to wire part of the money back, beware! It is a scam that could end up costing you money.

Nationally, there has been an increase in fraudulent checks and money orders being sent to unknowing victims for a variety of reasons, including “Mystery Shopping Scams”.

Fraudsters often lure people by posting ads for “mystery shoppers” on popular websites like Craigslist or Facebook. When someone responds to the ad, they are led to believe that they have been hired as a “mystery shopper” to evaluate the services of money transfer companies such as MoneyGram.  At this point the “shopper” is sent a check /checks that appear to be from legitimate companies drawn on what appears to be legitimate banks.  They are instructed to deposit the checks into their personal accounts and withdraw most of the money and wire it to someone else – another “mystery shopper”.  They are told to keep a specific amount of money as their payment.  Later, the checks are found to be fraudulent, drawn on non-existent accounts.  The bank will reverse the deposit and the “shoppers” are liable for the money from that transaction, plus any fees associated with that transaction. This could end up costing thousands of dollars.

Just remember, if it seems easy, or too good to be true, it often is.