Share this secret shopping scam

July 12th, 2011 at 10:37 am by 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! 

For more information on secret shopper scams, check out the FTC’s website by clicking here. For more information on how to become a legitimate secret shopper, click here.

4 Responses to “Share this secret shopping scam”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I always thought they seemed too good to be true. My husband got a check from an unknown source and called the bank and theysaid the check was good – this was before these kinds of scams were so common- we thought we had gotten a big break! Nope the check wss fraudulent and while we had a great bank who reimbursed us for returned check and over draft fees – we were ou the amount of the check!!!

  2. Jill says:

    It was easier to do the secret shop stuff when they hired people through temp agencies such as Kelly or ManPower! I worked for BOTH companies and did these jobs. Since now these companies very rarely get these type jobs I don’t know that I trust doing the product pulls or shops like I used to! They don’t give as detailed information, and expect you to use your own money up front, and many times I’ve not been payed properly even when I follow everything in detail according to what they want! I’d never do these checks anyway because the check can be done with very low sums and now computer transfers without human involvement!

  3. Buddy says:

    I had the same situation that happened to me. When I found out that these money orders were a fraud, it was too late, and Bay Port bank did nothing to help me in this matter. They said that these were to be put on hold for 3 days, but the previous month, when I wanted to deposit my Federal Tax refund check, the bank informed me that it would be on hold for 10 days before I could access the funds. While I was trying to raise over $4,000 to pay this back, the bank issued me a warrant for debt as well as a letter stating that if the money was not paid, I would accummulate more fees. So, for those that got protection from their bank in these scams, more power to you for Bay Port Federal Credit Union did nothing to protect me as a banking customer. The only thing that Bay Port did was to try to get me to apply for loans to pay this back, which I refused, because I could not get a loan. It seems to me that Bay Port is only interested in making money than protecting their banking customers from any type of fraud.

  4. Benny Chan says:

    Snooker will always be the favourite hobby regardless of anything. Congrats to Ronnie for achieving his 11th maximum. Simply too addicted to it.

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