Reminder: Don’t Fall For The Walmart Mystery Shopper Scam

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.

WHNT-TV in Alabama has the story of a woman who smelled something fishy about the nearly $2,000 check she received with an offer to become a “Walmart Customer Service Evaluator.”

The way it works is that the offer includes the check, sometimes for upwards of $4,000, and instructions on how to deposit the payment and what items to purchase.

The shopper is supposed to keep a “fee,” usually a few hundred dollars, and send the balance back to the company that hired them.

But the check is bogus, so it will bounce. The mystery shopper program doesn’t exist, so any purchases made are coming out of the shopper’s pocket, as is the money remitted to the fake employer.

While the subject of our original 2011 story was suckered out of around $4,000, the Alabama woman was savvy enough to know something was off.

“I saw the check, and I was like, that’s a hefty sum,” she tells WHNT. “Why would somebody send me this much money to start up?”

It didn’t help that the postmark on the envelope was from Madrid, Spain, only a few thousand miles away from Walmart HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The woman contacted Walmart’s corporate office and confirmed that it had nothing to do with the bogus offer.

“And they explained to me it’s a scam,” she says. “Do not enter anything into the website, don’t go there because once you deposit the check, what they’ll end up doing is they’ll empty your account.”

This scam has become such a problem for Walmart that the retailer actually has an entire page on its website dedicated to alerting consumers about it.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.