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Mystery shopper scam

READ MORE: Mystery shopper scam
With today's sluggish economy, you may be looking for a way to make an extra buck. As Good Morning America reported this morning, one way to do that is to become a mystery shopper. Retailers hire marketing research companies to evaluate the quality of services in their stores. Mystery shoppers are hired to go check out the stores anonymously. Those shopper are then given a small reimbursement. But beware, not all mystery shopper jobs are legit. WWAY anchor Marcy Cuevas got a letter in the mail, asking her to become a mystery shopper. Along with it, came an authentic looking check for almost $4,000. Cape Fear Bank manager Jeff Britt confirmed our suspicions that the offer is a scam. Britt said, "The letter is asking you to deposit a counterfeit item into your account - you don't know it's counterfeit then it's asking you to wire funds typically overseas or to contact someone who's going to instruct you to wire funds." Britt says mystery shopper scams are common, and its easy to fall for them. Here's how this one would work. A mystery shopper is to check on whether money wiring services like Western Union or Money Gram check for identification. The shopper is asked to deposit this check into their bank account, then wire $3,400 of it to a given location. "You've now deposited a counterfeit item into your account, you hand over cash to a criminal, the check is returned as fraudulent and now you're stuck with trying to get $3,980 back into your account," said Britt. WWAY called the number on the letter, to find out if it was a scam. Lynn Williams of Solution Market Research said, "I can totally reassure you that this is legit for sure." WWAY then told the woman we were researching a story. We were then told we would be transferred to a manager and were hung up on. WWAY tried calling back several times with no success. Jeff Britt says a legitimate market research company will never ask you for a fee up front, and will only pay mystery shoppers $10 to $25. "It will never be in large amounts and they will never ask you to wire funds," said Britt. No matter how convincing the scam may be, if you get a check in the mail and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Just to be sure, Jeff Britt called the bank the alleged check was drafted from, and confirmed it was fake. Just today, North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper released news of an agreement with MoneyGram, to help crack down on these types of scams. More information on the agreement with MoneyGram Telemarketing fraud rings will have a harder time taking consumers’ money thanks to changes that wire service MoneyGram will make, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today. “Telemarketing scammers are experts at tricking people into wiring them money,” said Cooper. “This agreement will help stop scammers from using wire transfers to rip off consumers.” Under the agreement with North Carolina, 43 other states and the District of Columbia, MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc. will take significant steps to cut down on the use of its services by fraudulent telemarketers. MoneyGram will, among other things, put prominent warnings to consumers on the front of forms used to wire money and fund a $1.1 million national consumer awareness program. Cooper’s office also host scam jams across the state to educate consumers about the latest frauds and scams. For more information, visit www.ncdoj.gov.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Mystery Shopper - NOT LEGIT

Great article I appreciate being posted though it is a few years old. It still applies and will for years to come I'm sure.

I'm posting here as I ran into this article, on wwaytv3.com, while trying to search for more information on this Mystery Shopper letter I received. My wife had applied to become one several months ago and we get this letter in the mail today. She was all excited about the opportunity finally arriving and hands the mail over to me. The first thing I saw was the envelope with a Canadian stamp AND Canadian post-markings (Ontario Postal Code). The first thing that came to mind was - SCAM!

I open the envelope and sure enough, it has a check for $3990, with an accompanying letter stating what my wife needed to do to get the ball rolling. The letterhead states a company called "Global Test Market" out of Stamford, CT. After doing some digging around to find more details, I found that a number of scammers use legitimate company names and bank names (the check has a legit bank from DFCU, Marborough, MA). Simple enough.

What originally led me to this article was a search for "Joseph Coring," who appears to be on all kinds of scam signatures. The document and check are appear completely legitimate - no copy/pasting, odd paper, etc.

I thought I'd mention my appreciation for a number of postings here but did not see much in the way of suggestions of moving forward. Sure, it may be difficult to identify these individuals creating and using the scams, but we should use every outlet involved to at least make an effort. Here are a few sites that I am starting out with:
1. http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx - Internet Crime Complaint Center (partnered with the FBI) (the letter contained a website to refer to)
2. https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/mailfraudcomplaint.aspx
the United States Postal Inspection Service.
3. http://www.bbb.org/ - (like I mentioned, the Global Test Market company may be legit but I plan on finding out what my options are)
4. Other? Post suggestions for everyone here.

The fact of the matter is - it doesn't matter what the scam is. If it's too good to be true, then it's fake. No company is going to hand out $3990 (or any for that matter) and expect someone to wire an amount back to them). Common sense.

Take the time to research and find out before taking ANY action! Best of fortunes folks.

SECRET SHOPPER SCAMS ALIVE AND WELL IN 2013!

Well, I got my letter stating that the check for $1438 was to be deposited and then to call them back for further instructions. The letter looked good; the check even had the watermark on it. Of course I was supposed to keep the source of the cashier's check a "secret" when I made the deposit, in case the tellers questioned me. The bank said they would hold the deposit 7 days; but alas, I am a very good customer and they lifted the hold after only 24 hours. Thank God for my husband who went to the store I was to do the mystery shopping. Even though the coordinator told us not to tell the store reps about the secret shopper purpose, we told the store rep the whole story. She said she had worked at that large retail store for 21 years and they had been trained to spot scams...that this sounded like one, and she could not issue us the MoneyPak card even if we wanted one...Thank God for her! I alerted my bank, so WHEN THE CHECK COMES BACK TO THEM, they will let me know they got it...By the way, on investigation, the bank the cashier's check was drawn on CLOSED last December, and the website address was bogus....yes, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! Trust your gut instinct!

Mystery Shopper Scam VERY RECENT 1-28-2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The mystery shopper scam artist went to great lenghs. He UPSed me overnite, not one but two what appeared to be US Postal Service money orders. Both were made out to me and were written in long hand,and both were in the amount of $925.15 as I was to deposit the $1850.30 in my checking account, keep $200 as my "pay" and wire what ever was left after I paid for the Western Union Moneygram to an address in Kansas City, MO.

The two money orders to the naked eye looked good, but I have sent a number of USPS money orders myself recently and something looked bogus even to a relatively untrained eye.

So, I went to my local Main Post Office and tried to cash them and the window clerk in about 30 seconds said they were both counterfeit and turned them over to the FBI. What the scammers do not count on is you going to cash them at the Post Office.

A bank will cash the Money orders much more readily and because it is a Friday today, you will not know they were bogus until at least monday when they bounce. By then you have sent the cash to Kansas city in an untraceable Western Union Money Order.

If they send you money orders, GO DIRECTLY TO THE POST OFFICE and have them check for reality. Do not even drag you bank into the obvious fraud.

I gave the FBI the UPS envelope the Money Orders came in, the address and person I was to send the Western Union moneygram too, phone numbers given and the e mails they had sent me in advance of actually
sending the fake USPO money orders.

If they send you a regular cashiers check drawn on a bank, make no attempt to cash it. Go to your bank, ask for an officer, and give the check to the officer and ask for a validity check from the bank it is drawn on, whereever that may be. He can do that in minutes and he can also contact law enforcement.

Its a decent scam but one that is easily overcome if you just check on the paper you were sent before any cash is involved.

Defraud, Defraud, Defraud(nothing is free)

The uniqueness of this scam is that it appears to be legitimate. I tested the waters by depositing the check and placed a hold on the funds equaling the check that I deposited. This way if the check never cleared, I would not lose any monies and only thing that I was out was a service fee that the bank charged of $37. No one even has this amount to just throw away. Thanks for this article.
JJB, Inc.

There are good mystery shop companies!

I do mystery shopping for a good company. They do not pay before the shopping is done. The usual fee is $15.00 for each shop you visit. You don't buy anything unless you want to. If you do, it is yours to pay for and use. Mystery shopping companies pay you to evaluate the service one receives from employees of a business. The company sends a list of the businesses that are to be visited and usually a two or three day time for you to visit at your convenience.

Following the shop, you fill out a lengthy evaluation form. It only takes maybe ten minutes online. A description of the employee you contacted, the conversation, cleanliness, orderliness, of the site, whether you would shop there again if you were a paying customer.

There are good companies that use mystery shoppers. They send me a check AFTER the shopping, not before. This company has been very good to shop for and you don't have to make a purchase. They send me a check every two month, AFTER, not before the shop evaluation has been completed.

I can't reveal the name of the company, but if you do your homework, there are good companies that need mystery shoppers. I repeat, none of them pay before the shop is evaluated. None of them want money returned to them. All they want is a good evaluation of the customer service and the impression the public gets when they visit the business.

I get emails every week soliciting me for mystery shopping. Once your reputation is established, you have no trouble getting more shops assigned to you, but none of the reputable companies send a check to you until you complete the evaluation form.

signed up for mystery shopper 2 months ago

Two months ago, I had signed up to be a mystery shopper and didn't like the company etc. Now I get this document in the mail today with a check for $2894.86 with instructions: $150.00 was my first weeks pay, $50 was for shopping at one for like 5 stores, $174.00 for was for western union fees (approximate) and the rest was to get western unioned to one for like 6 trainees. I have been a victim of a scam before, so I really looked into this one and go figure sure enough scam it is. It was just crazy cause 2 months ago I signed up for the mystery shopper online. There are many people out there that have money problems to no fault of their own and this looks really good. Some even just cash the check and pay their bills with it and try to repay the bank at a later date. Others are elderly, those with dementia, young people that just got out on their own and don't know things happen like this. These people that are doing these scams need to be punished and jailed. People just don't have a soul any more and it makes me sick. Then you have other people that come down on the ones that don't know it is a scam like they are stupid. NOT EVERYONE is as SMART as you or know better to research if it sounds to good to be true.

Mystery Shopper Scam

My wife and I just recieved one of these checks with the "invite" to become a mystery shopper using Western Union to evaluate these services. Isthere anyway with the letter, Phone #, Bank Listing (Sun Trust) that we can help to get these scammers caught?

mystery shopper scam

has anyone just taken the check to the bank and cashed it?

Check

I just received a check today for 3990.00 from a Company named Global Test Market. I called their bank and they told me this was an active valid account for this company. I am fortunate that there is a branch of their First Citizens Bank & Trust Company near me and I am going to try to cash the check tomorrow.

I will let you know how it goes!

You can try to cash it at

You can try to cash it at the bank it is drawn off of and be notified that it is a fake but if you cash it at your bank it will be cashed againt your account, meaning when it comes back as fraud your account will be debited the amount of the cashed check. YOu'll still owe the bank what you though was free money. Your better off realizing if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

why bother?

The check is a fake. Try to read all the words in the story.

mystery shopper scam

I was a victim of one shopper scam. They sent me a check for 3500 dollars. I deposit the check into my account. I did the shopping and them proceeded to money gram a large amount to someone. Luck would have it I was able to stop payment of the money gram, but not before the bank started charging for bad check charges for purchases I made being a shopper. I only ended up paying a small fee but even a small fee can hurt when you don't have money to spend. If it is to good to be true then it most likley is a scam.

Mystery Shopper Scam

I just received a check in the mail today (8/27/10). What a joke! I could really use some money right now, but I just knew not to fall for this crap. The check came in the amount of $2,460.25. The letter enclosed with it had instructions for an assignment evaluating a Western Union agent. People please be careful - a scam like this can put a huge hole in your pocket and your bank account - DON'T DO IT!!

CRG Mystery Shopper Scam

I received a cashier's check dated Aug. 24, 2009 in the amount of $2,975.00. According to the letter that was sent with the check, I had been chosen to be a mystery shopper. My first assignment was to take place at any MONEYGRAM agent near me, as determined by my coordinator. I was to deposit the check into my account, and then contact my coordinator for the name of the person to wire money to. My coordinator contact information is coordinator.crg@gmail.com....phone# is..1-416-887-9431...fax...1-212-918-9307...website..www.crg2000.com....Group Project Director...Joseph Coring...CRG Mystery Shopper...Suite 201,1911 N 45th St., Seattle, WA 98103 I live in Ville Platte, Louisiana and I like my money waaay too much to fall for something this good...lol

DATA NETWORKS INC

I just received a check (labeled "Official Check" in case I was suspicious) in the amount ofn $2,900 from Data Networks Inc - 8690 Presson PL STE 5000 - Los Angeles CA - 90069 - asking me to become a secret shopper.

I could find no mention of Data Networks Inc on the internet, so I checked out the bank, Suncoast Schools FCU and they were legit -but were a FLORIDA bank.

The telephone numbers provided in the letter were unlisted 1-866-713-0004 and 416-939-8172.

Then I decided to check out the name of the person who signed the letter, Joseph Coring.

That's how I found you and your review and knew they were a scam. I

Interestingly, nothing in the letter indicated that I was to send them any money. I was just to deposit the check and draw on the funds as needed to cover expenses.

Use your brain!

When have you ever been paid for work that you have not yet performed? Come on people...if you get a check for work that you haven't performed then it is obviously FAKE! In addition, no bank...I repeat...no bank will cash a check not written from one of their accounts without making sure that you currently have enough money in your own account to honor the check. That's how they cover themselves! Bottom Line: If you get a check in the mail for work that you have yet to complete, it's a SCAM! Stop your whining and start thinking! There is no such thing as free money except for the lottery...and even then you have to buy a ticket!

Can't really say I feel

Can't really say I feel sorry for any of you. The whole thing boils down to greed on the scammers bahalf, and your own. Think about it.

Scam - not good enough

I received a envelope from Canada yesterday. My name and address were handwritten and there was no return address. Inside was a letter saying that I had been selected as a "mystery shopper" and I was to call the phone number listed to get trained. Included with the letter was a check for $4992 and a sloppy customer feedback form. Here are some pointers on what tipped us off on this being a scam. First, the handwritten envelope from Canada. A tell-tale sign that the letter is not from a legit company. Two, the company listed on the letter was located in South Jordan, UT. Why would a company in Utah travel all the way to Canada to mail a letter? The customer feedback form did not look official, but looked like a bad cut and paste job into a word document. Finally, the cashier's check was from a small town in Illinois. Three different pieces of the same letter coming from three different locations. I immediately did a search on the company name that accompanied the letter. All the Google hits were about scams. I then did a search on the bank listed on the check. The bank is legit and even had a big warning on their homepage about a "mystery shopper" scam using their bank. The next step is to take the letter to the post office general to have them investigate the letter. To my knowledge, it is illegal in both the U.S. and Canada to use the postal system for fraudulent activities. Do yourself a favor. Next time you get a letter about employment with a nice check enclosed, stop. Do a little research. It took me a total of 3 minutes to determine that my letter was a scam. That 3 minutes saved me a ton of time, heartache, and money.

Mystery Shopping Scam

I received one of those checks from Canada for $4992.00. I couldn't figure out how did a cashier's check dated 9/10 from a bank in Mo. get to my mailbox by 9/11 and from Cananda. I called the phone number on the letter. First I was put on hold and listened to some music, then, the lady came on the line and tried to tell me to spend $90.00 and moneygram back her the rest. I told her if she just wanted me to spend $90.00 why didn't she send me a check for $90.00. The lady was pretty put out with me for asking too many questions. She told me to call the number on the check and verify with the bank if the check was good. How about I did and listened to the same music and talked to the same lady! I turned the check and entire contents to the local authorities. I traced the phone numbers to be in Canada and a cell phone. To those of you who make fun of people being stupid to fall for these scams, don't understand there are people who have dementia, who are elderly, and those who are desperate people in financial jams that would easily fall into this trap. So just because you and I maybe smart enough not to do it, you have to think of others and their situation. Just remember if it sounds to good to be true, then it is and don't do it. I hope they catch these people who are running this scam and burn them good!!

Secret Shopper Scam

My daughter just received a Secret Shopper Check with directions for "training" and the probationary tasks to be completed. I would be happy to share the letter and information if you are following up on the shopper scams. It's sad that these letters and the temptation are being sent out when the economy is stressful for all families. My daughter is a student and this looked good to her!

when you call them, bach use

when you call them, bach use a differn name they will no t hang up happend to my mom 3 dyas ago they took all of our checks and now we have pay the bank 1300$

a victim of Secret shopper fraud

Hi, I would like to get my story told as a victim who is still haunted by this secret shopper scam. I am from the DC Metropolitan area and had moved to Charleston in Sept.07. I had an account, with then Bank of American,who is now sueing me. October 2005, I lost my job and had to stay with my mom, I was 54 y.o at that time with a daughter who mentally challenged. Due to some health issues, I then had to apply for disability, as you know this is not alot of money. In March 2007, I recieved a cashie's check of, 4850.00 dollars from Atlantic Pacific Bank in Santa Rosa CA., yes I should have done better homework, but I thought I did. I phoned the the bank, Atlantic Pacific, calling off the checking acct. number and route number to the bank in Santa Rosa to confirm that the check was legal and they confirmed that it was. After following the instructions given by secret shopper, to confirm again I phoned Bank of America after 10days asking if the check had cleared I was informed that it did. In the mean time, I waited a couple days more before making any other transactions. April 2007, I recieved a notice from Bank of America that the check was a fraud. This was devastating.I then went to Bank of America in the Maryland area of Prince George's Co. of my dilemma, and was told that I was not the only customer who was affected by this and that there were others. My question to her, why were the customers not informed. She had no answer. Where and what responsibility is the Bank of Americal held. I have worked twenty-six yrs. in the medical field helping others, and am on disability, and I am now being sued by a big company who did not care about their customers. Some of the money that was in my account at that time was mine. Please, could you help me or better yet let me speak out on this to the public. So many people have lost their jobs, and connot be hit like this. In calling this secret shopper company, I did let them know my situation in needing an income and they assured me that they were legitamate. Why am I just doing something. I did not know what to do.

We are not all there are we?

Why does the tone and manner of your typing sound like the constant spam I receive on a daily basis. Dear Lucky receipiant "From the Official UK Lottery, YOU HAVE WON 11,000,000 franks in the Ugandian Kodak Lottery". Sounds like this post is a scam. People, for the last time, NOTHING IS FREE!

I am dealing with something

I am dealing with something like this as well, I received a check tonight telling me to call and register within 48 hour of receiving this check otherwise the check would be void.

BY NOW

ANYONE who falls for this crap...DESERVES to be had! This crap has been going on for so long you would have THOUGHT the dominant species on the planet would have LEARNED SOMETHING by now...guess we ARE stupid!

SCAMS

I AM DEALING WITH A SIMILAR SCAM RIGHT NOW I PLACED SOME PUPPIES FOR SALE IN THE STAR NEWS AND AD PACK. A FEW DAYS LATER I RECIEVED A CALL FROM A TRANSLATOR SERVICE ABOUT THE DOGS SO I ASSUMED THE GUY WAS DEAF USING A TRANSLATOR SERVICE. THEN THE GUY CALLED A DAY OR SO LATER AND WAS SUPPOSEDLY FROM LONDON SAID HE WOULD BE SENDING A CHECK FOR THE DOGS AND AN EXTRA 100 FOR THE RUNNING AROUND I WOULD HAVE TO DO AND FOR SHIPPING OF THE DOGS. WHEN I RECEIVED THE CHECK IT WAS FOR CLOSE TO $4000 AND IT HAD A LETTER TELLING ME TO DEDUCT MY PORTION AND WIRE THE REST TO A JANET BAKER IN LONDON ENGLAND WHO SUPPOSEDLY IS A SECRETARY FOR A SHIPPING COMPANY AND THATS ALL THE INFO THAT WAS GIVEN. THE CASHIERS CHECK LOOKED A LITLE FUNNY SO I TOOK IT TOO MY BANK THEY RAN THE NUMBERS AND SAID THEY WERE GOOD BUT TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE I LET IT SIT IN MY ACCT INSTEAD OF TAKING THE FUNDS OUT AND IT DID NOT CLEAR THE CASHIERS CHECK HAD H&R BLOCK AND THEIR BANKS NAME ON IT WHICH WE BELIEVE THEY WASHED SOMEONES INCOME TAX CHECK BUT THEY WERE TRYING TO GET ME TO SEND THEM THE EXCESS FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION AFTER THE SALES OF THE DOGS AND THE EXTRA 100 WERE DEDUCTED FROM THE CHECK AND AS I SAID THE CHECK WAS NO GOOD AND THE GUY IS STILL SENDING ME EMAILS THAT HE WILL CONTACT AUTHORITES IF I DON'T SEND HIM THE MONEY THAT I WAS SCAMMING HIM OF COURSE I'M STILL LAUGHING AT THAT NOTION I WISH HE WOULD BUT I'M LOST AS WHAT TO DO I CAN'T BELIEVE HES STILL EMAILING ME AND MAKING THREATS WHEN HE SENT ME A WASHED CHECK

mark his email as spame

mark his email as spame honey and keep it moving

Tell him your husband is

Tell him your husband is with the US Secret Service, and will be happy to meet with him to discuss. I'm betting the emails would stop...lol.

Re:Scams

Wow, Shannon. Turn off the CAPSLOCK and use some punctuation. This ploy is very,very old. Remember folks, "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

No such thing as a free lunch?

You are undermining the basic tenet of the Democratic Party!