Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ANACORTES– Mystery Shopper Scam

Scammers come up with all kinds of ways to try to get our money. KOMO News recently reported on an Anacortes resident whose family member received a “mystery shopper” offer in the mail. For the resident, there were all kinds of red flags.

Legitimate mystery shopper services will have people go into stores and restaurants, do some shopping or have a meal, then give an evaluation on the service that they received. One thing these services do not do is to send you a check in the mail without meeting you first.

The scammer sent a letter that looked legitimate with a check for $1,499 inside. The letter wanted the receiver to act as a “secret shopper” at a MoneyGram store, a money transfer company. The letter receiver was to deposit the check into their bank account. Then they were to wire $1,179 to the Philippines via the MoneyGram store. The $200 difference is supposed to be pay for being a mystery shopper. And the letter wanted this done as soon as possible.

What can happen with this deal is you do as instructed, send the money off, and then your bank discovers that the check is no good. When that happens, which will take place after the bank credits your account; you are responsible for the full amount. You have no protection. The bank will take the amount of the bad check out of your account.

The red flag for this letter was that the return address on the envelope was from Phoenix, AZ, the check had a P.O. Box from Alabama and the money was to be wired to the Philippines.

For more about this letter and mystery scams in general go to the following links:



Federal Trade Commission:

Previous posting on Mystery Shopper Scam:


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