Reader Brian got a surprise $1,530 check in the mail and an invitation to become a secret shopper. The letter told him that he had been selected to become a “mystery shopper” and report on how local stores were doing. He would buy selected items from them and report on the process, and get to keep what he bought. Sounds great, who couldn’t use some extra cash, right? It all sounds so enticing because, as Brian was able to detect, it was the bait to lure him into an advance fee fraud scam.
The way it works is that they send you a check as “payment for your services,” and ask you to deposit it and send part of the amount elsewhere via wire transfer. But a few days after you cash the check, your bank will call you up and tell you it was fake. Not only will they remove the money from your bank account, they could even press charges against you. Meanwhile the money that you wired off has been irretrievably whisked away by scammers, never to be seen again.
Here’s the detailed and inviting letter Brian received so you can know what to be on the look out for: