Fraudulent check scams (which we wrote about yesterday) have taken a new, exciting twist: integrated into so-called “mystery shopper” scams. The classified ads you see for secret or mystery shoppers used to be small time cons, designed to bilk you out of $100 or so to provide information that’s readily available for free. But add a little check fraud and you could be taken for thousands of dollars.
MSNBC tells the story of one man who was “hired” as a mystery shopper, then sent a check for $2,500 and told that his assignment—for which he’d be paid $250—was to test the services of MoneyGram, a wire transfer service available at Wal-Mart. He deposited the enclosed check, then wired $2,250 to the home office in Canada. And then, of course, the check bounced.
Real mystery shopping gigs exist, but they usually pay around $10-20 per assignment, says the article. As a rule, you should ignore classified ads for such jobs, and instead look to established websites like Mystery Shopping Providers Association or Volition.