Although there is nothing new about secret shopper scams or mystery shopper scams as they are sometimes called, they are scams that are still constantly finding new victims. I picked today to make this the Scam of the day because I received a scam secret shopper email that I am reproducing below:
“We have a customer service survey assignment in your location for you. We would pay $325 per assignment which would come in the form of a cashiers check along with comprehensive details in regards your assignment. You would also receive an instructional note. The job Entails an Evaluation process such as visiting Wal-mart, Rite-aid,Walgreen e.t.c Apply
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This particular scam email came carrying a legitimate looking logo, however there were a couple of telltale signs that it was a scam. The email sending it came from outside of the United States. It is unlikely that a company there would be doing secret shopping in the United States. Additionally, the email address of the sender did not match the name of the company sending it or the name of the person signing the email. It is apparent that an innocent victim’s email had been taken over as a part of a botnet to send these scam emails out.
One reason why this scam snares so many people is that there really are mystery shopping jobs although the actual number is quite few and they do not go looking for you. If you want to find out if a mystery shopping company is legitimate, you can contact the Mystery Shopping Providers Association which is a trade organization of legitimate mystery shopping companies. Their website is www.mysteryshop.org. Other indications that you are involved with a scam is when you receive a check for more than what is owed you and you are asked to wire the difference back to the sender. This is the basis of many scams. Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on provisional credit and never accept a check for more than what is owed with the intention to send back the rest. That is always a scam. Also be wary whenever you are asked to wire funds because this is a common theme in many scams because it is difficult to trace and impossible to stop.