Scam of the day – September 28, 2012 – Mystery shopper update

A tried and true scam that continues to effectively steal unsuspecting victims’ money is the mystery shopper scam.  Part of the problem is that there are legitimate mystery shopper companies that hire people to do market research for major companies by shopping in their stores and reporting on the experience.  Unfortunately, the real mystery shopper jobs are few and far between while the scams are everywhere.  The manner in which the scam works is that when you answer an  advertisement or an email to be a mystery shopper, you are sent a bank check for you to deposit and use for your shopping.  You spend some of the money on the goods that you purchase which you are allowed to keep and also are able to keep more of the check as the payment for your services and then you return the balance.  The problem is that the check is counterfeit, but the money you send by wire from your own bank account is legitimate and you lose that money.

TIPS

The New York Attorney General has recently shut down two mystery shopper websites, Idealcorp.net and Suvsonl.com.  Real mystery shopper companies will not seek you out by email.  People often are fooled when they deposit the real looking check and wait for it to clear in a few days only to learn too late that the check did not clear, but that they had only received provisional credit which makes your account look like it has money in it when it really does not and once the check fails to clear, the provisional credit is removed and your account is out the money that you sent thinking the check was good.  Also, always be wary of any transaction that requires you to wire the money.  That is a major sign of a scam because the money is impossible to get back after it has been wired.