Mystery shopper scam strikes again

picture of shopping bagsIt sounds pretty good: you walk into a store like any other customer. Then 20 minutes later, you’re done, ready to write a report that will earn you $50. And then you can do it again.

If Shopper Systems and some companies like it were to be believed, mystery shopping jobs like this were not only widely available, but could generate “insane profit.” All for just $2.95 for training and a week’s trial, then $49.95 a month after that for an up-to-date list of interested retailers — and you’d be free to cancel any time.

But they couldn’t be believed, the FTC says. According to the FTC’s complaint, people who paid to be mystery shoppers found there were few, if any, jobs in their area. And the jobs that did exist paid a lot less than $50. People who tried to cancel found they were still charged $49.95 a month, not knowing they were also enrolled in a second “opportunity” running their own webstore.

The companies and people behind the alleged scam have agreed to settlements with the FTC that ban them from selling business or work-at-home opportunities and require them to surrender assets to the FTC.

Legitimate mystery shopping opportunities are out there, but so are plenty of scams. Don’t pay to be a mystery shopper — information about mystery shopping jobs should be free, and certifications offered are often of little value. Many professionals in the field consider mystery shopping a part-time activity, at best, and opportunities generally are posted online by marketing research or merchandising companies.

Want to learn more about these kinds of scams and get tips on finding legitimate mystery shopping jobs? Read Mystery Shopper Scams at ftc.gov/bizopps.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Comments

yes, so many scam in there

Need credit report

Get your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. By federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting bureaus. Watch this FTC video to learn more.

Shoppers should always check with the MSPA for legitimate and credible mystery shopping companies. And, Jancyn is one of them!

Wow to many scams

Just received a check?? for $1986.35 from Amazon International, Inc. It was mailed from Spain, but has no forwarding address. Be careful out there!

Just got one today regarding "mystery shopping for Walmart. I notified Walmart, and they completely disassociated themselves with this scam business.

I became suspicious when the "sentences" were kind of "foreign" written. The words did not make sense in a sentence.

Just received a check for $2,473 from Nboqpx f s p.o.box 39309; Louisville,KY 40233-9309..P.O.C. has a Huntington Park;CA. area code(323)..My "payment" is to be $300; and gee; they want me to purchase a $50 cashiers check and two(2) separate $1,000 Money paks..oh yes;they want me to hurry because the $$ from the money paks is for an unnamed charity...Hmmm; why do I sense a scam...

Retail Solutions Inc sent a check over $1000.00 and I would be paid $225.00 to shop Walmart and Home Depot. Deposit check now and call. Not! I reported. Please do not fall for something like this.

I just got a similar letter. I'm trying to search for information on the company, but this is the only thing that came up.

Received a check from America Survey Insurance Co, Inc for $1992.50. Envelope has stamps from Spain. I researched the addresses, names, and phone numbers and none of them match anything on the letter. It's a scam.

Received a 3880.00 check for a mystery shop from a Eng Survey, Po Box in Little Rock Arkansas. They want me to call one of their agents before I deposit the check. Then They list several businesses they want me to visit to do an evaluation of the employees customer service. Of course, they go on to say part of my assignment is to purchase a GreenDot Reload Pack and/or NetSpend and Vanilla Reload pack. Out side of envelope paid 1st class postage from Bank of America and return addy is Po Box Wilmington, Delaware. Boy, they are getting good because the check looks super authentic. Thing is I work for a couple secret shopper companies and they never solicit shoppers.

I just received a 'cashiers check in the amount of $1786.00 the scammer sent instructions along with the check to deposit it into my bank, wait one business day, cash it out, buy an item at wal-mart, then purchase 3 $500 top of money cards. I scratch the cards and send the PINs to the email address that was enclosed with the instructions..I get to keep the rest..$200 for myself...this is a scam..the check is a fake and when the bank figures out its counterfeit its too late..beware

I too received a cashiers check for 2200.00 with similar instructions only I was to buy 4 $500 money pak cash top or cash refill cards.
Mail just came I got 2 more of the same assignments. Beware!

Hello, reading all of your comments, I'm glad that you guys share your stories for others to be protected. My mother, however, was recently a victim. She received the 'cashiers check' for almost $1800.00 and they wanted her to deposit it in her bank, cash it and buy the money cards. Then after that, wanted her to send the pins to the email address...she did it...and now she is out $1800.00. I just want to know if anyone out there knows of ways that she can get her money back on it? Money is tight for her right now as it is and this really set her back. I am furiated at the situation myself and that people out there take advantage of others, especially a disabled vet. If anyone does have information on how she would be able to get her money back, please let me know. Thank you.

Im sorry to hear same thing happen to me but didnt have checking account so I opened up account. I would have to wait 5 days to clear so I took them. Check cashing place. They called them in and found they were fake. They were confiscated. Called back to bank to tell teller were fake. I asked what would have happen if I waited for money orders to clear. He said bank would have charged me because they would have thought I was the scammer. I hope she is blessed in future.

Thanks guys just got a check for 1265.00..to be used for 1000. On green dot and 60. at Home Depot and the rest for myself ...lol.

I got the same thing. I called and faxed the number listed on the memo and it was temporarily disable.

We keep an eye on these scams and we just had a reader send over a link from a company called "Sights on Service." They tried to mail her a fake cashier's check for $1,950 for a Wal-mart mystery shop. And then, of course, they wanted her to send back $1,550. Ah! Be careful, everyone!

Thanks you guys!!! You just saved a college student from adding $1500 to her debts! I received a check of $1,980. I was instructed to keep $430, buy $30 items from Walmart, and 3 vanilla reload cards ( and mail the PIN numbers). I'm so glad I put in this effort to research it.

Guess the ante is moving up, I just got a cashier check in the amount of 2354.15 deposit wait a day cash out and then spend 50 at walmart and than money paks and send the pins. Check is from a legit bank Fifth Third Bank...even came Fed Ex Priority Mail.

I got the same letter in the mail with a check for $2,387...same story..will file this with my other scam letters and offers.
Too good to be true is too good to be true.

what about the walmat (sic) wholesales mart corp? friend told me about $2000 check sent to be deposited, instructed to take out their $300, and get further instructions on the secret shopping details. sounds like a scam (the web addressdid not materialize on the computer, and the phone number gives a message of "cannot accept calls due to high volume of incoming calls". anybody heard of this one?

This sounds like a fake check scam. Read the article Fake Checks for advice on how to recognize a fake check scam.

I got a check for about 2000 and wanted me to do the same and send the rest back to someone in Istanbul....Then I check where it all came from. The originwas a t shirt company in ohio and also the bank....What do people do to get these people to stop? Where do I send the scam info into?

Just received this scam email:

Do you shop at Walmart?
Do you know that you can shop at Walmart and get paid for that.
And even better, keep all the products you purchased.

We are hiring today and we need you in our team.
WalmartShopper is needing people just like you to inspect our employees and to offer better services to our clients.
If we got your attention, Apply Here

You will be contacted shortly to validate your position.

And remember, you dont need experience or qualification, just an honest opinion.

If link doesnt work or email reaches Spam Folder, mark this email as Inbox.

I got the same exact e-mail today. I knew it was a scam but googled it anyway, and found this site.

I just got a "Official Check" on Citibank. The letter says I will be paid $220.00 and that I need to deposit the check in the next 24hrs. Then go to CVS and buy a Greendot Pak. Go to Home Depot spend $60.00. Call Anthony Landers. The English sucks. It makes no sense when you read the letter. Do NOT do this. If the check is bad, you're the one out the money. Why are they sending a letter with a UK postal stamp, but a New York address on the letter? Very fishy.

I got the same letter. I called the number and it was
temporary disable and the fax number was not working.
Somebody need to investigate this scam asap!

We also got a check in the mail for $2400 and were asked to put it in the bank, legit bank, legit company name, leave it for 24 hours, take the cash out, go to Walmart buy $50 and then buy 5 Greendot Pak cards and send back infor. The letter read very well, and looked totally professional. It came Fed Ex. My husband did as they were told and lo and behold the check came back, now we owe the bank $2400. I told him not to do it, not to fall for it but he totally thought it was legit. I'm just writing to help someone else out, hope nobody else falls for this crap. It's totally got me furious and if you ever saw furious, it would be my husband. He has filed with the US Postal Service, and Fed Ex, it IS mail fraud. He has made a police report and is filing other things with the state where issued. If you have fallen for this don't sit and do nothing, we need to catch these crooks.

I got scam with a memo and a check to be a mystery shopper for CVS and Home Depot.

I just received a USPS money order to do similar assignments listed above but I don't have to deposit it, I can just cash out. Do you think this is scam too?

I received a check today. I had an email address for the company. I contacted the address asking for more information and a contact person to rule out a scam. I then called the bank whose check this was supposed to be. They asked if it was a cashiers check and who signed it. Mine was signed" Nancy Davis". Upon hearing just that, I was informed that the check was a fake. Saved $970.00with a call.
These people are the lowest form of humanity.

Just got scammed by Walmart secret shopper. Bank was on B of A found out that the check did not come from them. Hope no one will get scammed by this.

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