Almost exactly four years ago, we first warned you about the Walmart Mystery Shopper Scam, in which con artists offer their potential victims employment as undercover quality assurance inspectors who get paid to shop. Yet scammers continue to try running this ruse, so we figured it was a good time for a reminder. [More]
Once again, our cohorts at Consumer Reports are looking to recruit new freelance mystery shoppers to make undercover purchases for the magazine, all while getting paid to shop. [More]
You should always look at work-from-home and mystery shopper offers with heavy skepticism. Take it from a man who fell victim to a scam involving the latter that robbed him of $4,000. [More]
Looks like our research-relishing relatives at Consumer Reports aren’t the only ones using mystery shoppers to help with their investigations. A new report says the federal government is bringing on a team of undercover operatives to see how hard it is just to get an appointment with a doctor. [More]
Here’s one more reason to avoid mystery shopping scams: you could be the one who ends up in jail. A woman in Minnesota answered a “mystery shopper” email (that she found in her spam folder, sigh) and signed up. It turned out to be the old check fraud scam—they sent her a $2700 check and told her to deposit it and keep $300 a payment, then use the rest to make mystery shopper purchases. She took the check to her bank, and her bank called the police.
Want to see what a secret shopper scam actually looks like? Tracey sent us scans of the one that arrived in her mailbox today. It included a letter printed on cut-and-paste letterhead, a form, and a check for $4,200. The idea behind this sort of scam—also called an advance fee fraud or wire transfer scam—is to get the victim to deposit the check, wait for it to clear, then wire back the bulk of the money. Weeks or months later, the check will turn out to be fake, and by law the victim owes the bank for the full amount of the check.