Share this secret shopping scamJuly 12th, 2011 at 10:37 am by Christine Bethea under 10 On Your Side, Scam Alert
Being a secret shopper sounds like a quick and fun way to earn a little extra money on the side. However, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that some marketer’s promises are not all they’re cracked up to be. There are some secret shopper scams out there that if you’re not careful, instead of making money, you’ll be paying money. Here are just two common secret shopper scams I’ve heard about-
- You receive a check via FedEx made payable to you. It’s from a company who supposedly wants you to “hire” you as a secret shopper. You’ll think the check is up-front shopping money because, according to the instructions, you are to deposit the check and use the exact amount of funds to shop. You’ll find out later that the check was fraudulent and you will be responsible for paying the bank back.
- You’re “hired” to evaluate a money transfer service. You’ll receive a check that you are to deposit and then wire a specified amount of money via Western Union or MoneyGram to a third party. Again, you’ll find out later that the check was fraudulent and you will be responsible for paying the bank back.
Calling the bank to verify the check is a good idea, but don’t count solely on that being the determining factor of you depositing the check. The issuer of the check could have a valid account, but no money to back the funds. Even if they do, the funds may not be there by the time YOUR check is deposited.
As you can see, the checks look real. They are for large sums of money. They can be very tempting.
There was one lady who was sent “shopping money” because she’d inquired online how to become a secret shopper. She’d asked that more information on how to become a great secret shopper be mailed to her house. Instead, she started to receive checks made payable to her…..
Bottom line here….NEVER deposit a check from someone you don’t know!