Beware of mystery shopper scams

I confess… I once was a mystery shopper. Decades ago, I shopped at stores to see what they were charging for certain products and visited restaurant chains to evaluate the food and service. I wrote up a report, sent it in, and received a check for my work. Nothing I could make a living from, but it helped fill the gas tank.

Back then, it didn’t occur to me that responding to a mystery or secret shopper ad could set me up for a scam. Now I know – if you’re looking to make extra money as a mystery shopper, it pays to do some homework to make sure the job is real.

Recently, we’ve heard about a scam that begins when you get an email offering “secret shopper” jobs with retailers like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Best Buy or Home Depot. If you click through to the website, it looks like you’re on a retailer’s site – but you’re not. You’re asked to provide some personal information to get started, and told you’ll soon get a cashier’s check for around $1,500. You’re instructed to deposit the check into your account to “activate” your employment, keep $300 of that money as “advance payment” to cover initial expenses, and wire back the rest.

Problem is, the “job” isn’t real and it’s not associated with any actual stores. You’re dealing with a scammer. That check is a fake. If you deposit it, you’re on the hook to pay the bank back.

Following these tips can help you avoid a mystery shopping scam:

  • Do your research. Most legitimate secret shopper jobs are posted online by reputable marketing research or merchandising companies. A quick internet search can help you verify the company’s reputation, legitimacy, or flag any complaints. Scammers like to use the names of well-known companies like Home Depot or Wal-Mart to gain your trust.
  • Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Wiring money is the same as sending cash – once you send it, you can’t get it back.
  • Never agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know. If the check turns out to be fake, it will eventually bounce. And since you are responsible for any deposited checks to your account, you will owe the bank the money you withdrew.
  • Never give your personal or financial information out online. Guard your personal information, and treat it as if it were cash. Refrain from entering your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers online or by phone to someone who gets in touch with you.

You don’t have to pay to get into the mystery shopper business. We have more advice on finding legitimate mystery shopping jobs. If you suspect a scam, report it to the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Comments

Excellent information. These 'Mystery Shopper' scam artists are working while we speak.

Find the List and Names of the Most High Profile Scammers syndicates. Abayomi Arinde (Yomi Vuitton)

Afolabi damilare (Sean)

Samson Ajani (Hush)

Saheed Kareem (creamy)

Kehinde Ariyo Kelvin Bada Faruk ladejobi (Hmoney)

Olise Amstrong Ayepola omotaloni (Teemoney) Valentine Osuji (val) Oluwafemi Disu Fasheun Adebola (Rosay)Debo Animashaun (DV8 ) Femi Poshill Samson Oyekunle (Papi Smiley) Osadebay Wilson (Son bay) Abimbola Olarewaju (Abimbola Pepper) Terry Akinyemi Akinola Victor Bruno Roy Oluwatoye Akinde (Morrison) . But the "You can keep your doctor" healthcare scam is so big, affects so many people and has only a political solution, that we've kept it out of our top ten list. Instead, our list focuses on the scams that you could avoid, those reported to the FTC and BBB (Better Business Bureau) rather than those perpetrated upon you by politicians. Nonetheless, medical scams of all types grew in 2013 to become the largest category. For detailed explanations of each scam, how to report a scammer and how to protect yourself, click on the blue titles below for more information! To see federal and select state top 10 scam lists, click here . Medical Alert Scam - This is a telemarketing scam that promises a 'free' medical alert system, that scam targeted seniors and caretakers. The robocalls claimed to be offering the medical alert devices and system free of charge because a family member or friend had already paid for it. In many cases, seniors were asked to provide their bank account or credit information to 'verify' their identity and, as a result, were charged the monthly $35 service fee. The system, of course, never arrived and the seniors were left with a charge they had trouble getting refunded. Easy rule of thumb - be wary of 'free' offers that require your personal information upfront and always verify with the supposed friend or family member that the caller says paid for the service. Ebay / Auction Reseller Scam - Scammers posing as buyers convice sellers into shipping goods prior to receiving payment. Usually the fake buyer claims it's an 'emergency' like a child's birthday and asks the seller to ship the same day. The seller receives an email that appears as though it came from PayPal for the payment, but emails like that are easy for scammers to fake. Arrest Warrant Scam - Scammers create a fake Caller ID, which allows them to call you and appear to be calling from a local police, sheriff or other law enforcement agency. They say there is a warrant out for your arrest, but that you can pay a fine in order to avoid criminal charges. Of course, these scammers don't take credit cards; only a Western Union Moneygram, other wire transfer or pre-paid debit card will do. Invisible Home Improvements - In addition to email, mail and phone, scammers now just show up at your door. Scammers posing as home improvement contractors come door-to-door sale and target seniors, those who live alone, and victims of weather-related disasters are common targets Casting Call Scam - Scammers pose as agents or talent scouts looking for actors, singers, models, reality show contestants, etc., and use phony audition notices to fool aspiring performers into paying to try out for parts that don't exist. Foreign Currency Scam - Investments in foreign currency can sound like a great idea, and scammers frequently use real current events and news stories to make their pitches even more appealing. They advertise an easy investment with high return and low risk when you purchase Iraqi Dinar, Vietnamese Dong or, most recently, the Egyptian Pound. The plan is that, when those governments revalue their currencies, increasing their worth against the dollar, you just sell and cash in. Unlike previous hoaxes, you may even take possession of real currency. The problem is that they will be very difficult to sell, and it's extremely unlikely they will ever significantly increase in value. Scam Text Messages - It looks like a text alert from your bank, asking you to confirm information or 'reactivate your debit card' by following a link on your smart phone. But it is just a way to steal personal information Do Not Call Scams - The National Do Not Call Registry (U.S.) or the National Do Not Call List (Canada) offer consumers a free way to reduce telemarketing calls. Scammers call anyway, of course, and they've even found a way to scam consumers by pretending to be a government official calling to sign you up or confirming your previous participation on the Dot Not call list! Facebook Fake Friend Scam - Did you ever get a Friend Request on Facebook from someone you already thought was your Friend? If you hit Accept, you may have just friended a scammer. Affordable Care Act Scams (ObamaCare) - Scammers love the Affordable Care Act ('Obamacare'), using it as a way to fool Americans into sharing their personal information. Other common scams: Lottery Scams These include scams which can go under the name of genuine lotteries like the UK National Lottery and the El Gordo Spanish lottery. Unsolicited email or telephone calls tell people they are being entered or have already been entered into a prize draw. Later, they receive a call congratulating them on winning a substantial prize in a national lottery. But before they can claim their prize, they are told they must send money to pay for administration fees and taxes. The prize, of course, does not exist. No genuine lottery asks for money to pay fees or notifies it's winners via email. Internet Auction Frauds - Auction frauds (commonly called Ebay or PayPal scams, after the two largest venues) is a misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale through an Internet auction site or the failure to deliver products purchased through an Internet auction site. Nigerian Advance Fee Frauds (AFF) These frauds take the form of an offer, via letter, e-mail or fax, to share a huge sum of money in return for using the recipient's bank account to transfer of the money out of the country. The perpetrators will often then use the bank account details to empty their victim's bank account. Often, they convince the victim that money is needed up front, to pay fees or is needed to bribe officials. **Phishing and Pharming for Identity Theft** The victim receives an email that appears to be from a credible, real bank or credit card company, with links to a website and a request to update account information. But the website and email are fakes, made to look like the real website. Online Dating Scams Fake profiles of scammers posing as attractive men and women, then claiming they need money to help in an emergency, typically when they claim to be out of the country on a business trip. "PASSIVE RESIDUAL INCOME" SCAMS Get rich scheme and scam websites - Make $$$ in your spare time! It so EASY once you get their free book or cd and learn their secrets! Sure... These websites are themselves scams; claiming to offer you a good deal, when at best, their products are worthless, they have no real secrets, and worse, some are identity thieves! Counterfeit Checks You receive a check in the mail - either from a lottery you "won" (without buying a ticker) or from an EBay buyer or other source. It looks real... but after you try to cash it, you find out it is a fake; and you're arrested for passing a counterfeit check! Read more about scam checks on this page and here about the EBay check scam . FreeCreditReport What a scam this one is! The name of the website is freecreditreport, but you'll only get a credit report when you sign up for their paid service. And worst of all there IS a government mandated website where you CAN get a free credit report! Find out more here! Work At Home Scams Work-at-home and business opportunity scams are often advertised as paid work from home. After the would-be worker applies, they are asked for money up-front to pay for materials and, after paying, they hear nothing back. A variation of this is, people are asked to invest in a business that has little chance of success. **Matric and Multilevel Marketing** and **Pyramid Schemes** "MAKE MONEY NOW!" scream their websites! And do it in your spare time! Earn big bucks for almost no work. If that isn't enough to tell you it is a scam, let us explain why it is. These schemes are promoted through websites offering expensive electronic gadgets as free gifts in return for spending about $25 on an inexpensive product, such as a mobile phone signal booster. Consumers who buy the product then join a waiting list to receive their free gift. The person at the top of the list receives his/her gift only after a prescribed number of new members join up. The majority of those on the list will never receive the item. Pyramid schemes offer a return on a financial investment based on the number of new recruits to the scheme. Investors are misled about the likely returns. There are simply not enough people to support the scheme indefinitely. Property Investment Scams Investors attend a free presentation, which aims to persuade them to hand over large amounts of money to enroll on a course promising to make them a successful property dealer, usually involving "no money down". Schemes can involve the offer of buying yet-to-be built properties at a discount. Other variations include a buy-to-lease scheme where companies offer to source, renovate and manage properties, claiming good returns from rental income. The properties are generally near-derelict and the tenants non-existent. 900 Phone NumberScams Postal notification of a win in a sweepstake or a holiday offer in this scam include instructions to ring a premium rate number. This is generally an 900 toll number. Calls to the number incur significant charges, the recorded message is lengthy, and the prize often does not exist. It is a scam that has been around a long time, but it is still in use. Advance Fee Brokers . Often these appear to be very professional operations with attractive websites and advertisements. However, it is illegal for a business to charge a fee prior to providing a loan. Typically, after wiring money to the scammer, the victim never receives the loan. These 'lenders' will use fake physical addresses or the addresses of real companies. Credit Repair Services with Advance Fees . Consumers with bad credit ratings are particularly vulnerable to this scam. Everything a credit-repair operation offers an individual can do personally at little or no cost. Credit repair operations cannot ask for money in advance and they cannot automatically remove legitimate negative reports from your credit history. **Foreign Lottery Scams** . Any lottery from a foreign country is illegal in the United States. Stating a person can win or is a winner already provides a strong incentive; however, people should never send money to obtain lottery money. Scammers using fictitious addresses will request you send 'fees and taxes' to them through a wire service, take the cash and never provide any winnings because there are no winners. Office Supplies - Sale by Deceptive Telemarketing . This scam features fake invoices for office supplies being sent to a business, often for only a couple hundred dollars. This relatively low amount makes it easier for company personnel to quickly sign off and feel it is not worth their time to check the invoice's validity, which would be done if it was for a larger amount. Debt Relief Services (Non-Compliant with FTC rule). The Federal Trade Commission has established rules for debt relief services (for profit businesses that represent that they renegotiate, settle or alter the terms of payment for an unsecured debt). The FTC rule governs disclosures and representations that debt relief services can make and does not allow advance fees. There are legitimate debt relief companies that comply with the FTC rule and the Better Business Bureau is identifying only the non-compliant companies as scams.

Mystery Shopper Scam called Shoppers Express. Received a priority mail from them with a check that looked legit for 2,350.00 Navy Army Community Credit Union. I called the credit union and they said that there are a ton of calls about this. Mark Henderson from " customer survery" text messaged me asking to confirm delivery and to ask when I would deposit the check and then go and buy 2050.00 to buy MOney Pak cash top up cards.

Mark Henderson..SCAM. Got a Check for Community Bank N.A. for 2350.00 to do a "money-gram" job. luckily I read about this scam before going to the bank.

I just got myself into the same jam. I received the cashiers check today so did you return the check or tear it up?

I just got the package in mail! Luckily I saw this before I did anything! Got a check for $1930 and ask me to wire to two different accounts. I'm m going to report it!

I just got the same one!!! Bummer!!! Did you report it?

How do you report it?

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

I feel so stupid, just wanted to make a little extra money to help out. the check along with instructions to "secret" shop at Kmart or Walmart then to send money to two different foreign addresses. Anyhow, sounded fishy, so I went online, to look this guy up, no such person can be found, emails to his supposed address come back undeliverable. His name lists as Mark L Rodgers, Mark Inc, 1491 Holly Hill Dr., Mississippi S MS 39762-0156. I'm tearing the check up after I post this and hope that others don't end up feeling a fool.

I got a check today in the amount of 2880 I call the BBB THEY TOLD ME ITS A SCAM I didn't TAKE IT TO MY BANK.and that number they Gove you to call it is not working now sorry scamers better luck next time I am " not a foom

What's bbb? In the email it said I would be reported to relevant authorities

BBB is the Better Business Bureau.

I just received a package for Sears/Kmart mystery shopper with a check for $3850.00. Was told to keep 365 and buy 7 reload cards but I was told to keep the cards for future shopping evaluations. They didn't ask for any money back. So idk if it's real or not so I'm calling the bank on the check Monday morning to see if it's a real check or if it's some type of scam. There not asking for anything from me except the evaluation of store I shop at. Anyone else got something like this?

What happened was the check good or was a scam,

I got the same type of check, same amounts of money and instrux, etc. from "Sears Holdings". Gotta be a scam!

I recieved the same check and the same information not sure if it is a scam or not going to call the bank in the morning.

Losing my job and was looking for a small income. Realized what the scam was today and got a text right after that a check was coming to me today. Decided i needed to research and found this. Thank you for sharing and I'm going to report them too. Dread telling my husband how close i got to being scammed.

I cashed a check on my bank account for my son's friend and it was one of these checks.what do I do now.. he's young thought he was doing a job now my account is at risk with regions bank.

If you deposited a fake check and withdrew money, you'll have to repay the bank for the money you withdrew. You might want to contact your bank and explain what happened, and ask how they handle situations like this.

If you or the person who got the check told a scammer your bank account or social security number or other personal financial information, take steps to protect your information. IdentityTheft.gov has tips about what to do if information is lost or stolen.

Today,i got an email from MS company & checked them on Google.

* Welcome to (M/S) Networks * On Jun 18, 2016 12:23 PM, "Sherry Evans" > wrote: Hello, Sorry for getting back to you late. The delay is due to the number of applications we have to treat everyday. Count yourself lucky as your details have undergone background checks and have been processed. We received your mailing details in replication to our Survey/shopper job ad.

Your job is to act like any customary customer and perform a mundane business transaction while you conduct a simple evaluation (without being noticed) and accumulate information about the quality of service by staff, customer service professionalism, comportment of staff and other issues at such locations. Your survey evaluation will be on business locations such as, Walmart outlets / Western Union and MoneyGram outlets / Financial institutions. There have been reports about lapses in the services of their management and some of their staff. This evaluation is necessitated predicated on reports which their customers forwarded anonymously and phone calls, which were also made to the head office. A package will be sent to you, inside the package you will find your Emolument payment of $200-$300 and other funds you will utilize to carry out your surveying process. The funds will be sent securely to your mailing address you have given down in form of a Check which you would cash at your bank and use for the assignment. You must not use your personal money to consummate any of the surveying processes and there will be no reimbursement of any kind since we are providing you with all the funds you will require to carry out the survey. However, you are allowed to use your personal money in a situation where you want to promptly accomplish your assignment if you are capable to do so as bonuses are paid for timely execution of assignments and it enhances new tasks to be designated to you expeditiously. An Evaluation Instruction will be sent to you through email, this will tell you what to do at the store location and how to expend the funds at the location. I would optate you to confirm how your name should appear on the check, give down a working cell phone number where you can receive text messages.

Additionally, I would want you to state if you have done this kind of job before and what your experience was when you did it? You are also to confirm your mailing address and give down your apartment number if there is any, so there won't be issues when the courier service wants to deliver the package with your payment. Please note that you are to act Cool, Calm and Confident throughout the period which you will be carrying out your survey at the Outlets in order not to arouse any suspicion. Your swift response would be highly appreciated, replying with the Subject THIS IS ACKNOWLEDGED. Best Regards, Sherry Evans 703- Task Coordinator Survey Shopper® Copyright © 2016

Don't know if it's scam, but may be spam. What can I do?

You can forward spam to the FTC at spam@uce.gov. Please include the entire email.

I received the scam check yesterday and I called the bank to report it. I am also going to report it to FTC. This is a shame, that people don't have anything postive to do but try to scam people out of their money.

I got an email regarding application for Kmart Secret Shopper. Heard about them, applied. But I discovered I got the job when I found priority mail in my mailbox with a check in it. WHAT I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO HAVE AN INTERVIEW?

The envelope had a letter explaining I got job, go to Kmart do one task and email back my report. This part is exactly how the real Kmart secret shopper is done, except they use forms, I had no form. 2nd and 3rd tasks were not for Kmart. They wanted me to go to Walmart and use their 10-minute moneygram transfer and make 2 separate transfers. RED FLAG Why am I going to Walmart and evaluating them if I am hired by Kmart? The check I received was large enough to cover my purchase, all fees, moneygrams, etc. and left $300 for me.

I verified the cashier's check was written by a valid bank, signed by the correct person, however, the amount of the check was not the amount the bank said that cashiers check # was made out for. The check did not look like it had been changed in any way. Whoever did this scam is very good at changing numbers and amounts on checks. People please be aware. Scammers are getting real good. I got suspicious because the job came to me too easily. One other clue, there are different names everywhere and different locations. Florida to report by email, New York for return address on package I received, Texas for moneygrams, state of Washington for bank used.

I decided to do a background check for the heck of it on the names that I was asked to send money to. One has a record as well as an alias (entirely different last name). I did as recommended in some of these post. Took check and letters I got to bank. They took copies of the check and letter and will notify the authorities. I will also contact FTC. For you all, here are names and emails to look out for: ljones012         and jmiller2021 , Rod Franklin, 4209 Fox Court, Arlington, TX 76001 and Jason Waddle (alias-Jason Bagwell),1574 Edwards Blvd, Braunfels, TX 78132, and Aaron Merriweather, 1248 Jefferson Dr, Port Arthur, TX 77642

Got an email 5/06 from Kmart about job opportunity, make$400 a week, or more. Asked for name and address for info. Sent it and didn't hear back. May 18 received cashier check for $2945 with instructions to cash check and call 917747-0003 to get address evaluation site. Was to keep $445.00 for myself and purchase 5 Relodit cash cards at $500 ea. Send them picture of cards ,to be used later. This was 4:30 pm. When l searched address given it was Wells Fargo bank. Got text asking how long would it take do evaluation and send report. Told first thing in a.m. That seemed to upset them, got text asking if I realized I was being paid $400 for 30 min work, yes and that sounded suspicous. Told them eval site was closed. Check really believable, bank wouldn't cash it but deposited it until it cleared.still on hold, after texting that info to "boss" haven't heard from anyone. I'm sure bank will not clear check and I will have a returned check fee. But not sure how scammers will benefit from the deal unless they hoped bank would give cash and they get the cards eventually.bank was legit and signer was v.p. of bank. Bank in Texas, check from Pa. phone #N.Y

I got the same exact scam check in the mail the other day. Also sent from PA but the bank info was from Woodforest National Bank. Walmart # 8015 in Beaufort SC. I called the bank and gave them the check numbers and they verified it was false. I gave them the senders information and they are investigating.

I got a cashiers check today from Woodforest National Bank,The Woodlands, TX it also has 8015 Beaufort Walmart also sent from PA and was told to but 7 $500 Reloadit packs. It seems to weird so I check on line to find this. I will call the bank tomorrow,but I'm sure it is a scam.

I got the same in the mail a couple of days ago. Check from Woodforest National Bank, The Woodlands, TX, in the amount of $3,945. Letter enclosed told me to deposit the check and cash $400 as my commission, then proceed to the location to purchase 7 $500 Reloadit packs. I thought this was rather odd because the original email I received was from Target to apply to become a secret shopper. The offer was to receive $200 to evaluate a Target store. Didn't think it was of any harm, until I received emails and a text from Sears/Kmart saying that my application was approved and that I should be getting a check in the mail by Priority Mail. I didn't know that Sears/Kmart had anything to do with Target, but when I opened the package and found a check for #3,945, along with the instructions attached, I was very skeptical. Glad I googled and found this article and blog. I will be preparing a report to FTC. Grateful for finding this!

Thanks for sharing your experience. You can file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

I got this same one. The check was from West Texas Educators Credit Union in Odessa Texas.

i'm surprised your check had any ligit info on it.

got the same offer today. in the garbage!

BOBBIE GREEN ON SCAM LIST I TOO GOT THE SAME FAKE CHECK I TOOK IT TO THE GARBAGE

hi I just had this happen to me through facebook, it seemed legitimate because it came from a friend I know who lives in Denver about this great opportunity to earn some extra cash... I reached out to the company and everything they sent seemed to be on the up and up... emails and texts were sent and the instructions were sent via email the check came for $2900 and I was to buy 3 iPhone 6S and fed ex them to a given address... well you all know the rest! I have been in contact with the credit union that they used to issue the check to let them know what was happening... but it's too bad that this is out there and they used FB to get to us suckers,,, The company was We Check INC beware!

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I received a priority envelope with a postal money order inside that is the best fake I have ever saying! It has the watermark seal and everything on it! I'm taking it to the post office tomorrow to let them look at it but these people told me I had been chosen to be a secret shopper to deposit The money order in my bank account, take out about $100 for commission and mail them the rest after shopping at CVS. They texted me from phone number 323–643–9720 and asked me to please hurry and get started as a secret shopper and asking if I had cash the money order yet. When I texted him back and ask them if this was a real money order or not they have not responded. These people must think I'm a freaking idiot! Who sends a total stranger almost $1000 in the mail and trust that they will use it to do a job and send back the rest! It ain't happening!

DAM..I ALREADY DID...GOTTA C MY BANK N THE MORNING AFTER THE WKEND HOLIDAY..BUT WHAT IF I WITHDRAW ALL THE MONEY I DEPOSITD..GIVE IT BK 2 MY BANK..I SHOULD BE CLEAR WITH MY BANK..MAYB..THAT WAS VERY TEMPTING..1ST TIME 4 EVERYTHING

Has anyone just cashed in Wal-Mart? Instead of taking it to your actual bank. I just got one of these today, and I'm assuming it's a scam sense I didn't agree to doing any mystery shopper jobs. Figured the one way of knowing was if I could cash the cashier's check at Wal-Mart or something so I didn't have it in my personal account in case it was indeed a scam.

got my check $1725. today on Travis credit union in vacaville ca .. googled the bank got thier phone number will call tommorrow to inquire if this account is real. have been trying to check out the contact names i have with no success. names to be aware of peter anderson , john moore , and jerry allen. i was to send 1445 to jerry allen 17 renmin south road , guangzhou, china 510130. i was to buy 10.00 cashier check for john moore then scan a copy to peter4anderson so glad i found this information page

I too received my check in the amount of $1725 from Travis CU in Vacaville CA dated 11/16. It came to me 2 day priority mail from a Delphine A. Vass in North Lauderdale FL. My instructions came from "Michael Frank, Head of HR Office" with instructions to mail 1445 to Joel Hilary at the same 17 renin south road in Guangzhou China 510130. I received several emails from "Michael Franks" inquiring as to whether or not I have completed my assignment. I obviously was very skeptical and glad I did not fall for this.

Travis credit union is real and in Vacaville and other cities in Solano county i have lived in Vacaville my entire life , it is named after Travis Air Force base wjich is just outside of Vacaville .

i recently received a check in the mail in the amount of 2860 with a purchaser of Amby Hunt from a paulturney wanting me to become a Money Gram Mystery shopper and keep $235, use 110 for the Money Gram 10 minute service, and send $2450 to Larnaca, Larnaca, Cyprus. Check was written on a "Sun Trust" account so I called the bank and was told this was not an official check and that the information on the check was not valid. Beware of this scam.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Tozrts1@ is a mystery shpper scam

Just got a cashiers check via Priority Mail for $1,997.00. They are getting even worse! The two credit unions on the cc are real! Good thing my husband is in law enforcement or dummy me might have fallen for it

I just received one like this about 3 days ago, and they keep emailing asking when im going to do it. i report it to the ftc, but i dont know what else to do.

Received the same thing a cashier check for $1,197.00 asking that I do a mystery shopper assignment for WalMart, to deposit the money into my personal bank account, take out $250 for the assignment the. Wire the balance of $1,685 to the next mystery shopper for their assignment

I got the same one around the same time from a guy called : Marc Kaufman. I'm glad I checked him out before I deposited the check today.

Just received a check for 1999.00 telling me to keep 300 and wire the rest to two diff people . BEWARE.. FOOTHILL CREDIT UNION..ITS A MONEY GRAM SCAM..

Hi Wandernever, Could you please tell me more about the same. My friend received the cheque and she has deposited it already. Bank takes 5 business days to process so I guess she still has time to hold it and report the bank.

If your friend thinks she got a fake check, please tell her:

Never agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know. If the check turns out to be fake, it will eventually bounce. And since you are responsible for any deposited checks to your account, you will owe the bank the money you withdrew.

Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Wiring money is the same as sending cash – once you send it, you can’t get it back.

What if they have the address to where you live?

I got the email Dec 13. Job description for being a secret shopper. Gave breif description of what I would be doing. Told me the compensation for each job would be about 200ea assignment, it sad send your name address and contact phone number to sign up, and once they accepted my application, they would contact me.

A couple days go by,I'm contacted the week of Christmas, Tuesday Dec,22 they let me know that they are about to send e my first assignment. And I should be checking my emails daily now especially on Wednesdays. On Dec 26th I received a communication that I should be in receipt of my first assignment, sent by USPS priority mail, I get to my mailbox by 6pm and sure enough, I had a package. I open it and a check was inside for 1996. And a note typed on plain white paper with my assignment. I headed to the bank to cash the cashiers check because I'm thinking, its like cash, like a money order, so I rush to the bank before they close at seven and I'm reading the instructions which are telling me to send the balance of the unused portion of the cashiers check to someone in the Philippines so they can do their shopping assignment.

Red flag...therevwass no mention of transferring any money ever nor did my assignment appear to have been sent to me in the form they they want me to send on...

As of now, the check was deposited because the bank said the don't cash cashier checks, don't know why, especially if it's supposed to be purchasable only with cash, so I deposited it and I told the company the check needed to clear first and they responded with, ok it will clear, but they begin rushing me as soon as the day came that the check cleared....

I still have the money, I have alerted the bank as now that I have done some research, its common for the check to clear because the law doesn't allow enough time to find a fake check before by law they have to give us our money.

So this morning I get to go into a branch in Vacaville CA and push for an verification of that check because I refuse to give u any money that for one if I let it go, its gone forever and two i don't got that kind of money of credit to recover from a$2000 scam, so when it turns up a bad check and the bank wants it money back, I got it saved in another interest baring account....

I hope everything works out, wish me luck..

Hi my name is Denise and I live in Minnesota. I just deposited the a check from priority mail of a must set shopper assignment. I don't want to go thru with it if it's fake. I don't have 2000$ to replace . Can you let me know what happened ?

How did this turn out?

What happened?

so what happened? we received that same check to be a mystery shopper for the value of 1000 and idk if I should take it to the bank or not? so what happened did it clear or did it come back fake?

Don't deposit a check from someone you don’t know. If the check turns out to be fake, it will eventually bounce.

You are responsible for any checks deposited to your account. If you withdraw money, and then the bank finds out the check is fake, you will owe the bank the money you withdrew.

The man's name on my paperword with that $ 1740.00 "Cashiers Check" was Dennis Jenkins too. What a racket someone should be locked away!

Received email from a "David Barrett" regarding Mystery Shopper "assignment". Don't know how they got my email address but nevertheless, I have repeatedly asked them to remove my address from their files. Yesterday I received an email indicating that a check for $706 was being sent to me and I was to be surveying a MOney Gram store in my area. There are so many typos in the correspondence that you just know that it's all a fake. I am so thankful that others have posted their experiences so that folks can review and see the similarities and understand the fraud involved in this. The email I got today, indicates that "this is a 100% Legal Job Opening". Still not biting. I have also gotten calls from the "IRS" claiming that they don't want to issue a warrant for my arrest, but will if I do not contact them or speak to them immediately. I have also gotten calls from "Microsoft" about problems they "know" we are having with our computer. They are extremely rude and when I ask them for their name or how they got my number they hang up. The IRS has a place on their website to record scams so if you have gotten this type of call, post your experience there.

David parker is his name I have received checks from two frauds this he keeps calling.and emailing.me to see if I did the first assignment .

yeah I have a guy who is blasting me with texts and on now that I told him I am not cashing the check he is desperate for me to send the check back to him not giving it to the local police department let them deal with this.

So what if the check clears before you take the money out? I mean the check should bounce and not clear at all right? Just asking haven't received the check yet.

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you within a certain time. But just because funds are available doesn’t mean the check is good. It can take weeks to discover a forgery.

Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check

Read more about Fake Check Scams.

I was recently a victim of this mystery shopper scam. What I thought could have been a cool venture turned out to be a nightmare. I should have known better but I made a mistake. I deposited the check and of course it bounced and even though I didnt use any of the funds my account is now frozen and I cant use my own money that was already in the account. Now I may have to change banks all together because of the fraudulent check. My bank is treating me as if im a criminal and it sucks because I myself am the victim here. It's been a hard couple weeks, I have learned a valuable lesson and I cant stress enough of how careful you need to be now days. Beware of anyone with the name Fernando Torres with a Chicago number.

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Law enforcement uses the complaint database to investigate cases nationwide.

I just received my check with the same name. Do I rip it up? Send it back? This is my first time...

You can report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. If you got the check by mail, you can submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also can alert your state Attorney General. Ask your Attorney General's office if it can use the check.

Just got one for $2,865, drawn on First US Bank. Took it to WalMart, where I was supposed to do my "Mystery Shopping" and send two Moneygrams. Routing number was bogus; "bank not found".

i got a check from mistery shoppers to do two different moneygrams, its a scam and i know it, i had a friend of mine mess her bank account up and after she paid the bank all the money back. Her bank dropped her accout becarefull all

I received the same thing and I. Am worried because he said he will get the last laugh because I didn't complete the job. His name is Timothy Smith from Cape Canaveral Florida. Phone number (646)942-8058

Don't let them intimate you into sending them money... that's all he's doing

Received a check for a little under $4000. Thank goodness the bank asked questions and immediately spotted it was a fake check. My pay was to be $450 a week yeah right. The name if the place is JTC-LLC in Georgia

The 2nd time I got one of these checks my Husband reminded me (Then I remembered). The 1st time the bank kept the check, I won't go into what happened because "scam victim" just did. I kept the 2nd check & thanks to other unfortunate stories/advice I now know what to do with it. I am SINCERELY SORRY THIS HAS HAPPENED TO SO MANY NICE PEOPLE, like myself. I won't let it happen again to me. What prompted me to write this today is I got the Kmart offer but got nowhere by clicking on the link so sent an email that was promptly returned & then I found this website. If my story helps 1 person it will have all been worth it. I was a legitimate Mystery Shopper & enjoyed it. I've been logging on here & there (not looking too hard) sine the 1st of the year to do it again but believe me I WILL BE CAREFUL & SO SHOULD YOU! Happy shopping, but beware!

I just fell for the scam here in Sac looking to make a few extra bucks. I deposited the Capitol One cashiers check but when it was not fully available immediately, the red flags were raised. Thankfully i did research on mystery shopper scams because i was supposed to wire money from Western Union in Woodland. I will not follow through now. I wonder if I should I go to my bank and report this? Fortunately, i deposited it into a depleated savings account.

Wow this is so scary! This has to be the same scam that I almost fell for just yesterday. I received a cashier's check from Capital One and was supposed to deposit it and wire money from Western Union and do a mystery shopper evaluation on them and take out my commission. the letter was from Steve Johnson and the check was for $2380, much more than the $980 I was supposed to wire to some person I never heard of. I decided to be safe lol and open a new account in a new bank, and figured I wouldn't spend the rest of the money till I knew what was going on. It seemed kind of fishy but I admit very tempting... thank God the cashier said that if it was her, she wouldn't deposit it... So I went to my regular bank and asked their opinion and they immediately said it was a scam! I asked some of my friends and they said rip up the check and have nothing to do with it. I feel so stupid that I almost fell for it! But I had no idea that when a check clears the bank in a few days and they give you your money, that three or four weeks later the check could turn out to be a fraud and then I would be out whatever money I had wired and whatever else I spent, Plus in big trouble for cashing a bad check. Thank God the bank and my friends alerted me to it because I was very close to depositing it... this one has to be the same one that I almost fell for. I guess I should report it and maybe they'll catch the people who are perpetrating this scam. Thanks for all the info! Almost scammed in New York...

Folks, it has gotten worst. I received a check for this and there is no name on the document at all. One of my Linkedin connections account was hacked. Before I thought about it I gave my business information. Then I contacted my connection and she informed me that her account was hacked. Shortly thereafter I got the bad check in the mail. I know better than to deposit.

I fell for a scam. We're desperate for money, and can't pay our bills. I received a letter and a check for $1860, and that I was to keep $350 for my first payment.

I thought it sounded too good to be true, but we just need money so badly that I figured I'd go ahead and do the shopper job... My bank is currently canceling my account because of these people...

Fortunately, I didn't send any money to them. They are: P.O. Box 870 Montreal PQ H5P 1B2 Centers Insurance Job Solutions. Phone number: 1 855 553 3987 I called and actually spoke to someone. Maybe this will help someone else.

These details can help law enforcement. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

The same thing just happened to me. I signed up through a linkedin message from a friend and decided to do it. I got a check in mail for $1820 and was to buy 3 $500 cards and keep $300. I thought, well if its a scam the check will bounce and i just wont do it. But wells fargo closed my acct and froze my money. They also are treating me like a criminal. I had nonidea. I dont watch the news often and i knew this may me too good to be true but had no idea it gave the banks the right to treat you like this. I hope i can open an acct somewhere else.

 Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you within certain time. However, just because funds are available doesn’t mean the check is good. It can take weeks to discover and untangle a forgery. Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.

This FTC article about Fake Checks Scam tells more.

Don't get started with Mymysteryshopper They just sent me a cashiers check to cash and then go wire the money to 2 people thru money gram. I felt like it was shady when I text for further information but he didn't respond right away. He took awhile to respond and when I did he was pissed off and went off on me because I didn't complete the assignment. He cursed me and told me he was going to be unemployed because of me. He threatened to do ill will to me later.

Got my check in the mail today from Ronald Webster. $2550 send $1050 to 2 people in the Philippines. I don't think so. Think I'll turn it over to the police.

My clients hire mystery shoppers from time to time and these clients don't hire people off the street. Real mystery shopper jobs go to people with extensive backgrounds in retail who are able to collect relevant intelligence and provide cogent reports of their observations in industry-relevant language.

I did the same in the 80's for a large greeting card company. worked for month, killed ouy tons of paperwork and spent money on gas, wear and tear on car, reimburse me for mileage. At the end of the month I expected a check for $800 fought for several months never rec'd. So even legit, they scam you

I was scammed twice as a mystery shopper and both involved buying the green dot shopping cards I think they're called. Now I know not to touch those things with a 10 ft. pole.

The mystery shoppers got a hold of me. They wanted me to by 3 moneypaks. For $500.00 each. Plus pay the activation fee. Plus to go to a Walmart

omg i just got the mystery shopper scam thing in the mail today! Along with a check for $1740!!! his name is Dennis jenkins from the rabin market research group in Ny, NY. He wants me to buy green dot money pak vouchers and email him the 14 digit secret code on the back of the card!! This has to be the same scam you guys got huh???

Did u deposit it, I just received the same thing???? From dennis jenkins for 1740.00

My dad fell for it, only it's worse. His ex step daughter got it in the mail. She asked him to cash it and give her the money since she don't have a bank account. He did, she blew the money on other stuff. At least "Dennis Jenkins" won't get the money. But now dads out the 1740!

Received mine yesterday. Signed Alexander Fleming. Bank of the West, San Francisco, CA. But came from Houston, TX.

I recieved one from Carlos Williams, Head of Recruiment,MS Consultant. I even recieved an e-mail & text message,rushing me,telling me I was taking too long and asking what I was doing with the money. None of the responses to my detailed questions were personable. They only resent previously seen info.
I got suspicious. When I called the phone number and got no answer, I texted and asked why he didn't answer when I called back! Of course, he finally answered, lied and un-professionally,said he was in a meeting.Luckily, I ran it by my friend before I did anything and discovered the scam! I can't wait until they call/text/email me back.DOGS!

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Me to. I tore up the check and he is now rushing me. I told him I knew it was a scam and to leave me alone.

The guy's name is now Peter Bris. "He" sends emails first to let you know the cashiers check is coming and true to his email it came today via USPS priority mail (at the bottom of the package USPS prints "misuse may be a violation of federal law - wondering if this constitutes "misuse"?). I can't stand injustice and want to do something that will truly help people by putting these "people" out of commission ...but I guess when one is stopped 20 more take their place. Soooo glad my husband has been in law enforcement for over 25 years or I might have actually called these people (never would have deposited it) He took everything to his white collar crime unit. Btw - I let Pete Bris know that..I'm very anxious to see if I get a reply

In 2007, I fell victim to a similar scam. I don't recall the details; and being the naïve individual I am, I took the bait. I received a check in the mail for a couple of thousand dollars, so I deposited it in my checking account at the Bank Of America. A I received a temporary credit for the amount. The check bounced the next day, and the credit cancelled, A few days later, I was at work on my lunch break and wanted to make an on line bill payment from that bank. My account was $5000 less than it should have been; and within a few hours, another $2000 had been deducted from that account. I called the bank and learned that someone in Atlanta had make charges at a Walmart with a phony debit card. My BOA account was credited for the full amount, and I opened a new account the next day. The next year when I attempted to file my Federal and state taxes using Turbo Tax, my attempt was not permitted; because I had already filed my tax and a return issued. Of course that was not true, and I still am required to use a new tax ID number each year in order to file my taxes. BEWARE!!!

informative as always.Thank you!Keep them coming.

I am on to these scams and I don't bite on anything, cause I don't have any money anyway and what little I do have goes for bills, food, etc. its funny, I even get phone calls. you would not believe..when they ask for me by name,i tell them she don't live here anymore

Doozey, I occasionally was receiving sporadic but frequent calls one or two a day, but today I have received no less than SIX calls from scammers, one asked for me by using just my middle name, then he asked me if I knew someone by another name, and the other name he used was my first and last name (which, like you, I pretended not to know who he was talking about. He was was very unfriendly and said he was calling to try to keep me from ending up in court. He thought that if he bullied me into thinking if I didn't answer his questions that once he mentioned the court system that I would become so afraid that I dare not give him the information he was asking for, and this is why he was so unfriendly--he was pretending to be a person of authority or someone associated with law enforcement or the court system.

FTC, law enforcement, Consumer Affairs, Do Not Call registries, and all other so-called protective service agencies just aren't able to help us or curb this kind of activity at all. We must be our own watchdogs. Be careful everyone and God bless all of you.

To Doozey: I replied to you about and hour ago saying this but want to revise my reply: Here is what I said: Doozey, I occasionally was receiving sporadic but frequent calls one or two a day, but today I have received no less than SIX calls from scammers, one asked for me by using just my middle name, then he asked me if I knew someone by another name, and the other name he used was my first and last name (which, like you, I pretended not to know who he was talking about. He was was very unfriendly and said he was calling to try to keep me from ending up in court. He thought that if he bullied me into thinking if I didn't answer his questions that once he mentioned the court system that I would become so afraid that I dare not give him the information he was asking for, and this is why he was so unfriendly--he was pretending to be a person of authority or someone associated with law enforcement or the court system.

FTC, law enforcement, Consumer Affairs, Do Not Call registries, and all other so-called protective service agencies just aren't able to help us or curb this kind of activity at all. We must be our own watchdogs. Be careful everyone and God bless all of you.

If I could revise the reply I would say instead, near the end of my comments that:

FTC and some other protective/consumer services are doing all they can, and many times are getting some great results; but we must still be diligent and do all we can to be our own watchdogs as this will keep a lot of work and "overload" off these various agencies. My apologies to FTC and other agencies I named in my previous reply.

Well, I have yet to receive my "job" or check(s). But, I was asked to give the address of the nearest WalMart and Western Union and about $300 per assignment. I am very savvy...but thought this might be great as I need money!

Reading all this, though, I see I need to rip up and/or turn in any monies they send me. You all gave me the aha moment. What could I possibly do at Western Union besides send them money! Screams SCAM!

Well, they have my address, phone (although I never answer numbers I do not recognize--and block those I do not recognize if they leave no message) ... They luckily have no bank info. And even more if they did, they will be the ones messed up. I am personally overdrawn $1500 in one account and have $2.00 left in the other!!! No credit cards, either! LOL!

If they want victims, picking broke artists is really stupid on their part! Thank you for reminding me and keeping my little bit of money safe.

Hi NeedyinNY, I also got that email regarding a Mystery Shopping job and at first I replied and gave them my info because I had applied for a mystery shopping job and thought it was them. Well today I received a check for $2830 and they told me to go to a WalMart Western Union and send the money to someone, who is always out of the country. On the email, it said for me to keep $300 and on the letter I got it states to keep $200 and when I read that I laughed because I am like if this was legit, you are cheating me already. But, I am not going to deposit this check because when you realize something is too good to be true, it is and I am no fool. I am going to report to FTC. Everyone be careful!

thanks for all the info

This scam is legit. Hate to say it but, I was defrauded out of $990.00. Still very upset about this. The Money Order received is a counterfeit and will not clear if deposited. If you receive a Money Order call 866-459-7822 to verify if the check is legit. This is the Post Office Check Verification System. Be aware my friends, the scammers are out there working hard to take your money.

You’re correct. You can call 1-866-459-7822 to verify that a money order is from the US Postal Service. Here’s a link from the US Postal Service with steps to verify a USPS money order.

I called the credit unions on the face of the check. It was 1 of 500 checks stolen (real check fake account number) - the credit union sent out alerts to all banks so even if somone talks for this, banks won't touch it.

thank you for the info - I just called them on a money order I received - it is a fake money order! At least they won't get it from me!

I'm sorry but; you are late ! I fell for the scam and it cost me $3860.00. Is there any thing I can do to get my money back? I am 70 yrs. old and I need help. I have all the info, thank you.

You can file a complaint with fbi website. Federal trade commission. Local sheriff's office. Did they scam you with work at home mystery shopper. They sent me a check 1,740. They told me cash the check. Which I didn't. Wanted me to buy at cvs,walmart. Buy 3 Green Dot money paks 500.00 each. Give him the 14 digit code. So he could clean me out. I'm not answering his email. Good luck in the future.

I got the greendot one to buy 3 cards at 500.00 each and one for$246.00 Check was for $1996 I was to keep 200.00. Wanted me to deposit it in my account. I did not and won t Every one needs to be careful. Name is Christopher Green Head of recruitment MS Consultant Group.Sounded to good to be true.

I got the same thing via USPS priority mail yesterday. Thank God my husband has been in law enforcement here in SC for over 25 years cause I'll be honest, the cashiers check has real credit unions on it so I MIGHT have fallen for it. The "person" on my letter is Peter Bris. How I'm on a mission to catch these "people" so after reporting them to Alan Wilson's office SC atty gen, I replied to the email they sent me asking for more info before I would deposit the cc. I got the same email back plus a text msg!! There are going to be innocent people that will fall for this; I just want to stop them.

Good for you jeh! And since I'm also from SC, I'll do the same to Alan Wilson's office, too. I also answered to a "Mystery Shopper" ad in a regular mail, so I thought I'd give a shot, that was about 2 mos ago at least. Today, I get a USPS priority mail with a cashiers check for $2,780.99 with instructions to cash it, keep $200 for myself, split the balance for 2 persons they list on the instructions and to send them the 2 split balances thru to 2 Western Union stores via their "Money in Minutes" service, then report how the transactions were done. I haven't gone to my bank, but I called the actual "Mystery Shopper, Inc." on their official website and asked them about this, and they told me its a scam. The person's name on the check and on the instructions who claimed to be a "Task Coordinator" of the "Processing Job Unit" is Timothy White. A new one on the block it seems from your Peter Bris (or could be the same 2 people?). And I already reported this to the Federal Trade Commission also who gave me a link to scams like this since I mentioned it was a "cashiers check" of a large sum of $$, and the link gave an insightful lot of information on the exact kind of scam this is, esp. using wire-transfers thru Western Union. I was afraid this would happen, but at least I didn't "take the plunge" and be out over $2780. This guy, Timothy White, had an address on the USPS mailer of 2067 Crotona Ave., Bronx, NY; but the cashiers check was from Armstrong Bank, which after I looked the name of that bank on the Internet, Google search, I found that bank has 3 locations in Oklahoma. Sort of strange that a person living in NY has a check from a bank in OK, doesn't it? But before I did any of this, I emailed the guy (Timothy) last night and asked about his business legitimacy and said that if the bank tells me they have to wait 10 days to cash this and if I have to cover those funds in my account, I will just send all this back to them and won't do the "shop". Well, this guy emails me back and claims that they are "legit" and that they all go by "Law of Kamar"! "Kamar"?? I had to look that up and its about some Buddhist belief (that its all action whether good or bad!), so that tells me something! Wow! Look out for this guy!

I just received an email from what appears to be the same person or group- It just mentions going to a shop you will be assigned to and shopping and filling out a questionnaire, and getting paid $250 for each assignment.
The email was from jonsteue0r@. The name at the bottom of the letter is Sophie Austin. The name of the company is MS-Recruitment.

Of course I am not going to reply!!!

I received a letter and check for $2200 today asking me to buy greendot moneypak cards. No way will I ever do this. The check is on a bank from First Niagra in Lockport, New York. Too bad I am in Texas or I would take it to their bank and cash it!

I got the same thing from Navy Bank today. Tony Brown emailed me then called me to see if I got my party mail package yet. Then texted me a couple of times to see if I have received my package yet again. I finally got it and then they asked me to complete my assignment as soon as possible. In the package, was a check for $2350 that I was supposed to deposit in my account and then purchase $500 money top up cards and keep $300 of the amount for myself and $50 would go towards any expenses. I almost fell for this but talk to a friend who wants me. Unfortunately I did deposit my check but talked to the bank just now to warn them so I won't be charged for it when bounces. This guy Tony I'm sure will continue to bug me but I'm just going to ignore his text messages. So glad I found this string and I hope that no one else falls for it.

YES DONE THAT BEEN THERE NEVER AGAIN

SCAMS SCAMS GO AWAY AND NEVER RETURN.

Good info. You may wish to include an alert for reitred people with time on their hands who could use gas money.

This happened to me but I was smart enough to call this website & check on it& yes it was a scam!!!!

I would of raised the flag when you are instructed to return the rest of the money. Why wouldn't they send just the 300.00 to pay you for your work. That sounds like a scam to me, I don't think I would of fallen for that.

Oh, I was also set back by the fact that I had to "send the money to the next mystery shopper so that they can complete their assignment." Why wouldn't they just send the other without my doing so? And why wouldn't they send a money order to my local Walmart and have me evaluate it by picking up my 400$ in commissions that they are offering me? Instant red flags all around.

How do i find a real mystery shopper online.

There is a company called Shadow Shopper that sends out lists of legit mystery shopping jobs. I have used them and made money doing Myst. Shopping

Sounds like the (TP) republicans are at it again, win at any cost???

I received a letter and check for $1675 for Mystery Shopper, for Sears, Walmart ($100 apiece) and $975 for Money Gram, the rest is my training fee. Bank is legal but $975 for Money Gram, and address in NEQ YORK, and envelope posted in Toronto post office box. Doesn't sound Legit, so I am write FTC, Attorney General of my state. Hope This will alert people so they don't get caught.

This is a scam. We received several USPS money orders for $975 each, and a bogus cashier check for $1700 to purchase green dot cards. We have lost no money, but we have turned over names, addresses, email addresses, etc to FBI, FTC. USPS and the Attorney General's office. I also spoke to the legitimate Mystery Shop website owners. They have been told by the FBI that there is nothing they can do, and the FBI does not have the resources to follow up. I feel terrible for anyone who have lost $$. The Bank will hopefully work something out with you.

I received letter and check from what appears from same so called business as well. I'm doing research myself. Don't think I will bite.

I received a scam mystery shopper this week and I informed them they were a scam and not to email me again.

I HAD ONE LAST YEAR AS WELL THEY SENT MONEY ORDERS THAT WERE TO BE DEPOSITED THAT WERE FAKE OR STOLEN I TOOK THEM TO THE POSTMASTER. I HAVE NEVER HEARD FROM THE POSTMASTER.

AFTERWARDS THE SCAMMER KEPT TRYING TO HAVE ME COMMUNICATE WITH HIM THROUGH MY E-MAIL I JUST IGNORED HI.

I got the fake check from someone I did not know. I ignored it. I did not know about the scam, but the whole thing was "fishy". I was lucky. Thanx for info.

I just got my fake check. There are so many red flags: the return address is not the same as on the check; the check is for a business I have never heard of; and, there is no letter. It just came in a priority mail envelope. I used to be on Pinecone Research, so that is how they got my info. But, I could tell it was a scam and wanted to get evidence for the authorities.

It appears from what I am reading here, no authorities care or have the resources to even care.

I can't even file a complaint here because I have not lost any money. This explain how these scammers get away with this and why they are getting bolder.

(I know from past experience the USPS is useless for things like this.)

You can file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint. Complaints from consumers help us detect patterns of fraud and abuse. It’s up to you to determine how much information you want to provide. You can provide as much information as you have about the company, even if you did not send money.

I received a check on 2/28/15 no letter just a check inside a USPS envelope it's founded by a private bank & tr.Co in oak brook IL,60523 the xheck the company that send it is from Chicago contractors supply in 1567 napperville IL,60563 but on the USPS envelope it states Chicago contractors supply 3036 N meridian st sacramento ca, 95825 very different addresses

The latest is someone called Fred Thompson sending a check for $1,950 for a Walmart survey. You spend $50 at Walmart, then get 3 Money Cards for $500 each to send back to him, etc. Dumb scam that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Same one I got but isn't Fred Thompson the name of that guy who is a speaker for the Ins. company AIG and reverse mortgages?

I received a check today for 1985.78 to buy the green dot cards and moneypaks from walgreens and CVS. I almost cashed it today but continued to search BBB to find out if this is a scam. Could not find anything out about the company. I am glad i read this. Thanks for the info. Now what do i do with the check and the letter from Wilmington DE?

Just got that email the other day. I did give them my name,address & phone no., had a funny feeling about that. Hope they can't wreak havoc with that info, haven't heard from them since.

I to received a check in the amount of 2,250,90 was asked to buy money cards, with instructions on the pacific amounts to be applied. There was no financial institutions information on the check(red flag), no letter head misspelled words, the amount of check in letter was 2,250,00 seriously? If that's not a flag nothing is.The senders a dress was Michaels arts and crafts store. I called the financial institution for verification on what I already knew was fake. Promptly directed to their fraud department. I have since sent forth with all contents as well as check to the bank. They have had several checks with the exact amount try and go through. I have since gotten treating text messages concerning the check, which abruptly stopped once I informed the sender their check and contents of envelope may be picked up at their banking institutions friendly fraud department.

Good job! You did your research, and you didn’t agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know. That’s our advice, exactly,  to avoid a fake check scam. Thanks for reading our blog posts!

Nice job! I hope more people do their research like you did, that was so cool! Thanks for sharing.

Beware of a post on Craigslist in October 2014 under Focus Group Survey agent/Financial Enterprise. It is a scam, where the person send counterfeit money order through priority mail with a poorly written letter to be a mystery shopper survey agent. I was surprise and said what fool sends $827.00 blank money order that want me to deposit in my personal bank account.

I request my bank to looked at the money order and it was was hard to tell by looking at it visually in the bank, so they manually verify it for me and it was no good. If it too good to be true, you bet it is no good to be true. No lost for me, but I did my own research and the fake money order suppose to have originate from a Alice, Texas Post Office. I did contact the U.S. Postal Services, Fraud. This person had the nerves to ask me to take $200.00 out the $827.00 for my service if I chose to do it, and the rest to mystery shop at Von's to purchase two reload pack cards at $400 and $200. The next step was to observe how the retail store clerk did in customer services. After purchasing the cards, I was suppose to scratch the card for the pin and email the pin # along with my customer service survey. Now Get this! The person on the letter said that the money from the cards, will go to charity. So Folks, stay far far away from those mystery shopping ads on Craigslist.

Had same happen to me 10/31/14 check for 1850 told to buy money pack cards SCAM!!!!

My roommate just received a check for $2,867.00 dated 10/31/2014 (drawn at: San Diego County Credit Union) with an assignment letter to deposit it and with "Secret and Discreet" mystery shopper instructions for purchasing GreenDot MoneyPaks from CVS, 7-Eleven, Rite-Aid, and Walmart and then to scratch the cards and provide the list of PIN #s and to answer a few questions about the purchase experience and customer service.

I told her it is a SCAM and not to deposit the check. Thankfully I read the letter and saw too many red flags.

She was in communication via email with someone with 'Mary Booth' on the letter.

Evidently this Mary contacted my roommate and led her to believe an old work colleague from "LinkedIn" had recommended she try this money making opportunity.

Just sharing this information and hoping to save someone else from losing money. Beware folks. Know who you are dealing with.

I got a mystery shopper email a few days ago and i provided my information. I received the check in the mail today for $2,865.00 and i am to evaluate my bank and then use the cash and go to a CVS store and buy 5 money pack reloadable cards and i was to keep $300. Call me dumb but i deposited it into my account and its the check will take up to 10 business days to clear. My question is would i be wrong to try keep all that money if it does clear and the funds are not insufficient but the mystery shopper thing is a scam would i be wrong to keep all that money cuz as god as my witness that money would help me out ALOT right now in my desperate time of need. I have my boyfriend looking at my emails that i got from them he thinks its a scam but hes gonna read it throughly and see if its a scam.

In our experience, what you are describing sounds like a fake check scam. Remember that just because funds are available on a check you’ve deposited doesn’t mean the check is good. It’s best not to rely on money from any type of check (cashier, business or personal check, or money order) unless you know and trust the person you’re dealing with or, better yet — until the bank confirms that the check has cleared. Forgeries can take weeks to be discovered and untangled. The bottom line is that until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.

Do not attempt to withdraw the money from your account the check is fake and can take weeks for the bank to discover it and you will be responsible for repayment

I recieved mystery shopper check for 2380.00 today. Check looks real but david parker was the original person who contacted me. The package came from kenneth hayes . And the bank check is made out from a bank in melbourne florida. Several mistake is grammar on the instructions. For cashing check and getting green dot cards. I don't plan on doing this after reading up on it.

Bri Bri.. do not get the money outta ur bank girl... for real.. trust me.. i know it could help.. but i gaurantee you, the cops n swat will b breakin down ur door in a couple weeks, ull have a warrant out for u, n ull have to pay all the money back to the bank... do NOT make that mistake. i know it sounds like a good idea now.. but it wont be good when cops are at ur door n takin u to jail in a cpl days.... im not lying girl.. look it up..

I have been a mystery shopper for over 12 years with over 100 companies worldwide. Many emails are fake. Most mystery shopping companies will not contact you to do a job unless you applied for that particular job through their site or were referred by a scheduler you have already completed great shops with and believes would be a good match for the job they are looking to fill (these emails will contain both the scheduler's contact info, the company they work for and it's info as well as the company they are recruiting for and how to contact their scheduler). Jobslinger is a great site for finding mystery shopping companies that are legit (always do your research though). Also, a mystery shopping company will generally pay via Paypal, very rarely will they mail a check, but when they do, it is for a job you already completed and submitted a report for that received a satisfactory grade. There are several good companies to find open jobs through, but NEVER pay for this service. You can find a list on Jobslinger and can connect directly to the company from there. ShadowShopper is not as trustworthy in my opinion. I have been doing this so long, I have several companies I would recommend contracting with first due to their quick payment turn around, general reputation, general trust-worthiness, job availability and customer service departments: Bare International, Gfk, Goodwin and Associates, Sinclair, BMA, Research Services Group, ath Power, Martiz, IntelliShop, MSI and iMyst. I hope this helps some of you considering mystery shopping; it is truly quite fun and can be very rewarding (not enough so to quit my day job, but I have fun nights out on the town paid for/reimbursed and can always manage to get good gifts for friends and family for birthdays and holidays, and I have extra pocket money).

Greetings Mystery Shopper,
It has been some time since you wrote this but I recently replied to an ad to make a few dollars and they are Intelli Shop, and the contact person is Don Bode, his cell # is 573-575-6529. The Intelli Shop sent me a series of emails, first to intro, then to tell me that they would be sending me the first task, and within a few days I received a priority envelope with a Cashiers Check for 2950.00 I looked up the routing number from the credit union and it is a real Credit Union. I was instructed to purchase I-Phones and mail them to a residential address in Indianapolis My Salary was 300.00 so do you think this is real? Thank you for your time

Dishonest promoters use websites and email to make you think you’re signing up for a job, but then they say you have to deposit a check and wire money, or buy something with the money. Don't do it. Read more about these scams.

About that check -- by law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within a few days. But the bank might find out in a few weeks that the check was fake.It may seem like the check has cleared and the money is in your account, but when the check turns out to be a fake, you will be responsible to repay the bank for the money you took.

Two days ago received a USPS envelope priority mail, containing a cashiers check drawn on Ga,credit union,printed letter detailing the scope of the 2 assignments involving green dot prepaid cards,info.on the contact people for the project,including US phone number,which specifically stated for texts messages only.Long story short,I knew immediately the entire thing was a scam,I thought I would try to burn them called the CU and they confirmed the check was not real,if one really is observant and catches the lingo it was very obvious it was a joke,but my question is how did they find me? I apply only to those jobs that are posted on actual employment sites,such as indeed. I feel as if I need to change both my phone number and email address ?

Uniblue of India said they were Microsoft and I paid them $300 by credit card to speed up my computer. Months later they charged my credit card again fraudulently.

Cleverbridge of Chicago was accessory to the crime.

I got the check yesterday all the same stuff this is from Albert.ttony just so ya know

What happens if I have deposited the check and the bank already in my statement? Called to the bank to ask if the check is cleared and they said yes? im really worry...

Forgeries can take weeks to uncover. If you've already deposited the check, you may want to contact your bank and let them know you think it's a fake. Either way, don't withdrawal any money that you can't cover without the funds from the check. When the bank discovers that it's fake, they will debit your account for the amount of the check. Some banks also charge a fee for depositing a bad check.

The checks are stolen - they are real checks. Your bank should be alerted to it now but I would close your account and open other.

Hello, The same thing just happened to me. What did you end up doing? I'm not sure what to do. I just deposited the check, which has already been accepted.

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you within a certain time. But just because funds are available doesn’t mean the check is good. It can take weeks to discover a forgery.

Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check

Read more about Fake Check Scams.

 

I just received a USPS priority mail envelope today with instructions for the green dot cards and a check for $1,900. The postage was printed off a computer from a 'Terry Perkins'at 811 Main St in Houston TX. The check was cut from M&T Bank in Buffalo, NY but there's no phone # for the bank on the check. The remitter says Erich Waldorf bht its e-signed by what looks like Lola Sammy. Also.... The postage says it was shipped on 11/28/14. . But the check is dated 12/05/14... YESTERDAY. SAME TYPE of green dot instructions also asking to text (267) 603-3718 as soon as package arrived and when job is done. Also im supposed to email my report to 'David Stanley'@ MRDAVISSTAN@GMAIL.COM. which is kinda funny, because david stanley is the author of a book about mystery shopers..lol. RED FLAGS all over it. Im gonna do done research on this bank and mailing address then contact the fbi and bbb.

I called the credit unions printed on the check - real credit unions - stolen checks. No phone number on mine either so I just Googled the credit union's name to get the phone number. The rep from the credit union very much appreciated my call. In just want to stop someone from losing money who probably can't afford to

Hey Harley, I got the same thing from a Terry Perkins but of course the check was from another bank, one without a local branch. I might have fallen for it had they not asked me to purchase green dot cards and send them the pins.

my name is rashda.and i received a check from freelance marketing RESEARCH AROUND 2200.00 AND THEY ASKED TO DEPOSIT IMMEDIATE AND MAKE A MONY PACK CARD FM CV/RITE AID WALGREEN ETC....AND PROVIDE THEM PIN NO....THEY ARE PAYING ME 250.00I DONT KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO DO.

Thanks to all of you! Received my pkt with USPS money orders from David Parker and decided to research and am glad I found this site. To whom should I report this scam and what do you advise I do with money orders? Thanks for your help.

THANK YOU FOR NAMING THE PEOPLE! I got a Terry Perkins check. The first contact checks out (legit movie guy on IMDB) but after researching Perkins I'm not going to do it. It seemed fishy and I'm glad I found this site!

Just in time for Christmas, just received mine, along with a Email. replied waiting for photo of the Green dot money pak. Thanks for sharing.

I received a check for $1,820.00 for Mystery Shopping for Walamrt, along with the check was a letter congradulating me for being a mystery shopper. The letter said that once I received the check,send a confirmation email to walmart@mysterysurvey.net to get my assignment. So I did. I then received an email stating that I need to cash or deposit the check, go to Walmart and place a moneygram to Rodeny Lawson in Baltimore Maryland 21226 so (She:<Red Flag> could complete her assignment) I've never know a lady to be named Rodney. Anyway I was to send Rodney $1,450.00. and I was to keep $300.00 for myself and the rest would be for the fees of the moneygram transfer. The whole transfer thing was suppose to be the assignment. To see how long it took the CSR to process the order, what documents were needed for the transaction, etc. Well, they might have thought they found "Boo-Boo" the fool, but the Devil is a LIE!! Wrong person. But I just want to warn people that this is a SCAM, and please be CAREFUL....If it's sounds to good to be true, then it is

I received this below assignment. I went ahead with it, but then I read all the scams about it. Now I don't know what to do. Two of the card numbers I haven't given them yet. Can someone advise.

(BTW, I got the assignment through a recommendation on Linkedin, but know the referral says she never posted anything about it on LInkedin, and that her account was hacked)

The assignment:
Information reaching us from USPS Courier Service confirmed the delivery of your first assignment. The package entails check worth $2950. You are required to deposit/cash the check at your bank. Do note that we deal with banks only, Reason is that we make monthly reports of our transactions and financial activities to the government through the bank,so the records are required.

ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTION BELOW•
You will be evaluating your BANK and any of the below stores in your area ,The payment you will received covers all expenditures including evaluation, shopping and your compensation (salary=$300.00 ) for these surveys. You are to purchase MONEYPAK of $2500 , it usually comes in $500's or $1000's depending on its availability. As soon as you purchase the cards just ask the cashier to add cash directly to your card at the register. A service fee of up to $4.95 applies on each card. You are required to email the 14 digit number at the back of the MONEYPAK with your evaluation for record purposes before shopping with them, Please make sure you double check the numbers before sending your report. We will provide you with the other locations where you will have to shop with the MONEYPAK cards.

I just received this same scam and it said the exact thing you wrote above. I almost fell for it at first because it came from a good friend of mine on LinkedIn...I should have called her first to ask her. I found out a few days later that her LinkedIn was hacked. I have saved all the emails from this person and received the check in an envelope with no return address. Won't do anything with the check but glad I found out it was a scam. Crazy!

I was scammed by a person going by "Petra Artis" through care.com. I received a check from the aforementioned Terry Perkins of 811 Main Street Houston, Texas. I didn't believe it was a scam because their story was so believable but now I'm -$2200 and hAve to pay the bank back.

Hey, how did that happen? Doesn't it say something about watching a kid? And did they send a lot of "money" or something? I had soemthing happen like that recently.

Omg. I did this and now im am out 1867. I will not recover from this for months. I cant believe i was so stupid. My biweekly check will be automatically delosited tonight and i will still have no money to pay my bills or feed my kids. All to make a few hundred dollars that i needed but now I'll owes thousands of late fees and overdrafts. I dont know what too do.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. If you sent money to someone through a money transfer service or a prepaid card, contact the customer service department and explain what happened. Also, contact your bank, explain what happened and see what options you have. Ask the bank to waive any late or overdraft fees. Then, file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.

I am so sorry to hear that. Try to keep your head up, I hope and pray that things will get better for you! I am so sorry, I am a victim as well...I deposited the check BUT I still have the money in the bank waiting for them to take it once the bank finds out that it is a SCAM!! I called the bank and told them that I think the check was a scam, just to cover myself. But you are NOT alone - this has happened to several people and will continue too, unfortunately. Sorry!

Glad I stumbled onto your site. I received what "Mystery Shoppers Customer Service Experts" stated was a Cashier's Check in the amount of $2,755.00. Actually the check is imprinted "OFFICIAL CHECK", not Cashier's or Bank check. It is drawn on Capital Bank (Routing # 000357726; Account #067011760 802104588). No Bank Address or Phone Number is printed on the check. It is signed by "John" with a last name that is not legible. The letter I received (3 Logos Xeroxed at top for letterhead, but the letter is laser printed) with the check gives "Paul Turney" as my contact (Phone:205-518-9082; E-mail:wolbergfirm@gmail.com / paulturneysorgs@gmail.com; Time: 24 Hours daily by e-mail. Paul Turney's name is typed in all caps at the bottom of the letter.) Both the check and letter with instructions to purchase Money Pak cash top cards and NOT the prepaid card totaling $2500 in the denominations of $500 (repeated 5 times). I was instructed to purchase the cards at CVS, Rite Aid, Dollar General, 7Eleven, Dollar Tree, Fred Meyer, Radio Shack, Kroger or K-MART. I was instructed to scratch off the PIN information and e-mail the PINs to wolbergfirm@gmail.com. All of this came in the mail in what appears to be a legitimate USPS Priority Mail 2-Day windowed envelope, complete with a USPS bar code for tracking. I am providing all of this information because I have frustrated in my search for more specific information and this just might help someone else. I HAVE NOT AND WILL NOT BE DEPOSITING THIS CHECK. The return address is Charlie Lambert, MS Inc, 4 Martine Ave, White Plains NY 10606. Because it involves the use of the USPS, it is a Federal crime and I will be following through with it as such.

I received exactly the same email that you describe here. I felt uneasy about the whole thing, especially with instructions as evaluating the "smartness"'of the person waiting on me. I shredded the whole letter and check and emailed a reply telling them that I did not trust them and was no longer interested.

yes, i got a check today from a terry perkins as well. and let me tell you, RED FLAGS from the beginning. This time they're talking about how they are Brett ratner and they are trying to hire me for a job. This is plain BS. Beware out there guys.... the world is scary and full of crooks...

I just received emails from Terry Perkins claiming to be the producer Bret Rattner responding to a job application for a production assistant. He was pulling the same scam with wanting me to deposit money into my bank and purchase the cards. He wouldn't verify who he was and I found this site after looking up his name when I got the mail. Beware!

Received $2200 check and letter in the mail for mystery shopper assignment for purchase of MoneyPak Cards, to buy cards and send PIN numbers.

Be on the look out for the following email address and contact noted from market research correspondence
Definitely a scam, do not deposit check. Notice Bank and Contact have a PO Box address.

what would happen if you deposit the check and kept it for your own good? i heard a girl who did this with her "fake"check.

I THANK GOD FOR THIS WEB SITE I JUST RECIEVED AN INVITATION FROM ...CATTHERINE OLIVIA... TO BECOME A MYSTERY SHOPPER. THANKS BUT NO THANKS,,,,,,,,, THERE ARE NO FREE MATERIAL THINGS, PEOPLE AREN'T GIVING ANYTHING OF VALUE AWAY. THE ONLY THING THAT I KNOW IS FREE IS SALVATION, AND IT APPEARS AS THOUGH SO MANY PEOPLE MAY NOT WANT THAT. GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND THANKS AGAIN...

I just recieved a check yesterday sent priority mail its for 1,997.00 I am told to deposit immediatly. I keep 200 then get the rest of the money on greendot money pack and send them the 14 digit pin to each card. I haven't done anything yet with it my Brother in Law told me it was probably a scam or I would be at the bank first thibg this morning to cash it like they said to in the letter. What do I need to do next with it? I can't believe I was about to fall for this I am always so suspicious of the get rich quick scams.

I received an email to apply to be a mystery shopper through my husband who was the orginal email recipient. He forwarded to me. MS Consultant. I filled in the info and sent back figuring the chances of being picked were slim. Received this email this morning which made me very suspicious:

Attn:  SECRET SHOPPER
This is to inform you that you will be undertaking your first Mystery Shopping Assignment on our behalf this  week .At this Point in time you are expected to check your email every day and most especially WEDNESDAY MORNING (1/14/2014) for Instructions to follow as soon as you get the payment for the assignment. Get back to us with a reply to show that you are in receipt of this message.

BOBBIE MCCHRISTY
HEAD OF RECRUITMENT
MS CONSULTANT

Thanks for everyone sharing above. Hopefully the word can get spread. Once I receive any checks I will immediately file fraud complaint.

I too just received a check from Terry Perkins, pretending to be movie director Brett Ratner... for a production assistant job.. with a cashiers check for 2,835 from M&T bank.So glad I just saw this site..

I user received one of these in the mail today buy it doesn't tell me to deposit the check. It says to cash it. If it's a fake check will I be able to cash it with out paying it back? It's a cashiers check.

If it seems too good to be true...
"Opinion Outpost" (if it's really them) stopped using USPS–probably for legal reasons! Got check sent by FedEx 2-day priority, $1867, to buy Green Dot cards & send pins. #RedFlag!! I WILL be going to my bank...for them to evaluate for fraud. Also, I found this on craigslist, so I'll be emailing craig@craigslist.org to pass this along. Name of contact is Brian Washington.

Exactly as you said above, I received a check for $3478.40 and was told to deposit it as my first assignment. It came from the same Terry Perkins by 2-day priority mail. A few hours after I got it in the mail, I was contacted by a man claiming to be Brock Heyman at a 646 number and he pestered me about when I would be able to fulfill the 'survey'. Once I knew it was a scam, I started messing with him telling him that I deposited the check but the bank had called and told me it was fraud.
He sent me a few texts after that but now hasn't responded.
I want to warn people that this thing is such a scam! Do not give them any personal information, guard those things like cash!

got a check for 2200 new it was bull so i played dumb, i told them i deposited the check but wont do any shoppiong till the check clears,got all kinds of texts from them i kept on playin dumb,its still on going,now they told me the money cards are canc elled and to wait for further instructions--sure ill do that ill keep messin with their heads

Now operating under the name Dennis Walters. I will report him to the State's Attorney. 1/19/15

I received the check from Bobbie MCChristy head of recruitment at MS Consultant.
I tried to call the number at the bottom of the letter and of course nobody answered.
I also looked up the bank and it is a CU in Florida. I then found this web site and read everything. I have not cashed the check and still have all of the information. What should I do now? Any suggestions? I guess I am glad they had to pay for USPS fees. If anybody has any info on where I should send this please let me know. I would like to follow through with getting them caught!

Hi my name is Sue and I think I might have received a fake check for about $2,250.00 I believe it's fake how can I check to verify if it's real? I'm really confused because it's my first time they are asking me to keep $300.00 and to do a money grant to the Philippines.

I got same one with email address. jonathan.daniels1950@gmail
I wrote back SCAM

I think this one is funny. My roommate received an email to do the "shop." Upon very close examination the routing number and account number was his cousins business who lived in another state. The scammed was caught and felt very dumb when he found out how he was caught.

Well I received a priority mail package in the mail this morning from a Margaret Yerkey from Mesa, Az with a money order worth $967.89 and a document stating to western union Tim Dykes in Baltimore. At first I thought it was real. Then my wiseness kicked in and I went into private investigation mode, as it seemed too good to be true. So I looked on the USPS website to verify the money order and everything seemed legit, until I read some of y'all reviews and I came across a number to call to verify money orders. Well, the money order didn't match any records. Thank goodness I'm not money hungry because I wouldve ended up in a unnecessary bind. These scammers need to be stopped.

I just received this in the mail. Just for kicks went to local post office and reported this person to the FBI. FRAUD FRAUD. Never take jobs where you have to send money to make money. EVER! If you do, then you were really just not thinking. Sorry for those who got scammed. Rodney Lawson in state of Maryland. Looked this person up on FB. Yeah looks like a real winner. Going to pay him a visit shortly! He'll never see it coming.

I got a check yesterday from Terri Williams, bobby McChristy was the recruiter. I knew it was a scam because I never asked to be a shopper, and the urgency of the job. It was $1,994.00. No way would I be making any deposits, sending any money to anybody. Beware people!

I recently got one of these email scams for a mystery shopper job. The first clue that is was a scam was there was no company name in the email. The second clue was they wanted me to send them money, after receiving a check in the mail. Legit business owners do not ask you to send them money. They hire you, and when you finish the job for them, they send you money.I don't know of anybody who will pay you for your work before you actually do the work. They would go out of business that way.

Wow! We are not the only seniors who get scammed. My wife agreed online to be a mystery shopper by no more than checking a yes box a while ago. yesterday she received this very real looking priority parcel in mail box from Steve William, Gold Firm, Inc.,395 Ocean Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226 with a $2,760.00 check drawn on Bank of the West, signed by Roland "somebody" and instructions to cash or deposit it and asap go to 2 nearby Walmarts - at each to purchase $30 of items - buy a $1,200.00 moneygram for person - Akelisha Latrice Bowman, Albany, CA 94706 and at #2 a $1,200 for person Howard Clifton Hamblet, Pomona, CA 91768. Make a secret evaluation report on the services for moneygrams at the Walmarts and to keep $200.00 for herself after fees and all. Well it had a phone number to text (347)841-0225) and 2 email addresses. We texted and got 0 but emailed evaluationreport7@gmail.com and shopperupdate3@gmail.com and got a response urging her to continue with the assignments. Husband suspected scam immediately and stopped it all from happening. Now our question is will we get in trouble from USPS to send that worthless check through the mail back to NY? Husband would prefer to shred it. I made a USPS report too. Thanks everyone for posting - we didn't get hurt, just wasted sa lot of time and energy on this.

Good for you! You did your research, and didn’t agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know. That’s our advice, exactly,  to avoid a fake check scam. Your story sounds just like scams we describe in the Fake Checks Scam article. Check with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or your state or local consumer protection agencies for more information. Visit www.naag.org for a list of state Attorneys General.

I just received scam letter with cashier check for 2,760.00 from NY? Sounds like several others got this. The. Scary thing is I called and bank is ligit as well as account being opened. The name on check as remitter of account was not same as email information. Wanted me to cash check.keep $200 and use Wal-Mart money store to send to different addresses in CA. Such a shame to pray on people who are honestly trying to earn a living. But I never applied for this "position".first red flag. And they didn't even want to check my history? I'm a Security Officer. Thanks for all the warning letters. Heres my input.

Got an email about being a secret shopper...just received a check for 1650.00 suppose to cash it keep 200.00 and send the remaining via western union to Rocherl Lewis in Sugarland Texas. Think I'll just mail the whole check to her.

I received a letter/check in the mail from someone. I called the dude and told him that I wasn't stupid and that I had a real job. I told him not to be trying to pull one over on me. He was from a foreign country I could tell by his accent. I pretty much told him like it was. I told him to go out and look for a real job. He didn't say anything except yes ma'am haha!!! I knew it was fake when I opened the letter it still outraged me though.

Got check for 1650 and I am to keep 200 and send 1420 to Cheryl Segal at 1131 Cardinal Ave Sugar Land Texas 77478. Bank is Berkeley Community Federal Credit Union and remitter is Dennis Keller. SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like Dennis has changed his name again. Update as of 25 March 2015

A John Miller with Secret Shopper is currently sending out checks to potentials shoppers. He is fake, the company is fake. His emails were unprofessional, misspelled words, cashiers check sent was fake, asked money to be wired to next shopper, etc. I knew all along and was just checking it out. Did research online and it confirmed everything I suspected after I got the packet to start the job. Sooo glad I did not fall for it. I would be out nearly $3,000!! Beware.

I got an email from a contact on Linked In today about Mystery Shopper Opportunities. It asked for my name, address, age, telephone number, occupation and email. I gave the info, they emailed back saying I would be receiving money and my first assignment. I figured it out, still worried I gave them that info though. If I get a check I will be reporting this. I know better--please everyone beware!!!!

I also previously performed mystery shopper assignments that were ligit. I responded to this current ad and after checking the Internet determined it is a fraud. I called the FBI who took a report but suggested that i also contact the US Postal Inspectors office, which i did. I talked to a lady in Chicago who esentially told me there are lots of scams going on. She didn't sound very receptive to taking any info and said to send the information I had to them , if i wanted to. I sked to speak to an investigator but she declined to transfer me. I asked for her employee number but she refused. I then called the local US Post Office and talked to the postmaster. He asked what would this have to do with the post office and I explained that the use of the mail to perpetrate fraud is a crime. I asked for his spervisor and he refused. I asked his last name - he refused. I DON'T THINK ANYONE IN GOERNMENT IS INTERESTED IN CATCHING THESE PEOPLE- NO WONDER THESE SCAMS KEEP FLOWING RIGHT ALONG.

rec'd my "check" and assignment in the mail today. have sent back to return address. No one really states what to do with this stuff once it has been rec'd. What do people suggest? thanks

I got one today as well...certainly looked real, didn't it? I wondered what to do with it as well...

I received a message via LinkedIn from someone I trust, saying they are doing mystery shopping, and they earn an extra $2000 per month. I thought, "why not give it a try", and see what its all about. I gave him my address and phone # and age; got a response and got the packet in the mail. I had an uneasy feeling when it was $2800, and he told me to keep $400 of it for payment. The letter did not look official at all - no letterhead, no company name, etc. So I looked it up online and figured it out really fast that its a scam. I have since shredded the check and the letter and told the guy I wasn't going to take part in this. I'm going to ignore any additional emails I get, but I am worried that they have my personal information. Thanks for all the posts. I thought I would do my service to others by letting them know this came at me a little differently than the above - by LinkedIn, and through someone I know and trust - so it makes me wonder if her account got hacked.

So I got the letter and check yesterday. I also was contacted via a Linked In contact that I trust, very definitely her contacts in Linked In were hacked. I wasn't the only contact, all her contacts got the email from these scammers. I am filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission. The man, Robert Collier keeps texting and emailing me to hurry and "finish this assignment, that he will be sending me work twice a week." My check was for $1976.00. BEWARE!!!!

I received my check for $2400 today with instructions on my two shops. The second is to wire the rest of the money after I keep my $300 plus $50 for expenses. I decided to do research and found this site. Thank You so much for posting your experiences. Now I know for sure this is a total scam. And I'm going to turn all this over so that maybe the authorities can use it somehow. The name mine came from was Geoff Howe. Stay alert peoples!!

Did you find anything out about the check is this really a scam and how come no one's actually trying to cash these checks instead of depositing them

I was just sent a check for $3990.00 to be a secret shopper I contacted the company. They said to deposit the check, then when it cleared to call them. I did, when it cleared I called them they gave me instructions to withdraw all but $500.00 and to wire the money to 4 different people. I did this. The next day I found out that the check was from a spam artist & I was responsible for the whole amount. My accounts are frozen and I can't get my social security check forwarded to another account till June that means I will lose my appt and my utilities will be turned off.

Report the scam to your State Attorney General's Office and the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Ask the Attorney General's office if there's an agency in your state to help you pay rent and utilities if there's an emergency. Call your utility company and explain what happened, and ask about getting a payment program.

You can contact a legal aid lawyer to ask about help keeping your apartment.

I just got one yesterday from him and another one for 2000 I called he asked me did I get it and read the instructions.I told him I didn't get to read it a complete silence .

thanks just got a check for 2760 from mystery shopper co. good thing I did a little research.. don't think I would've sent any money to any one anyway .but I can see how a lot of desperate folks are looking for free money and end up getting screwed.

people please be careful. i recieved a check from paul albert for the amont of 2,450 dollars in my name but the person who signed the check is Jaime l Forke. i was bout ready to go cash the check when i had talked to my best friend and she told me to go talk to a cop. but the letter was tellin me to keep 400 for my self and then send half of it thru money gram and the other half thru western union. i had talked to a cop and he told me to not cash it .. he said if i did cash it the bank could come back after me for it. they wanted me to send it to chicago illinois. i am happy i did my research before i did anything. and i think my best friend.. who do i give this check to?

This is useful information for a complaint. Please go to ftc.gov/complaint to report this. If you got the check through postal mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also can alert your state Attorney General.

All I did was ask for some information on mystery shopping and I got a priority mail letter welcoming me as a mystery shopper once again. That was my first red flag because I have never worked as a mystery shopper but I let that go thinking it could be a typo. Included was a check for $2,300. He wanted me to cash the check or deposit it and then spend $50 at Walmart evaluating them, and wire $1,950 to Laketra Maki evaluating the money gram store. There was supposed to be $200 for my salary and and $100 for money gram charges and transport. If I ever get a check I am not sure about, the first thing I do is call the number on the check. Well this check did not even have a phone number, just Fulton Bank and the address. The best thing to do then is to cash the check where it was drawn, then it has nothing to do with your account. Well, if it's drawn on some bank you have never heard of and can't cash it at, then it's probably fake. These people have gotten really good; I used to do payroll and this looks just like the checks I used to print, so please be careful!!! This letter is from a David Wilson and I will be filing a complaint. Needless to say, I have not cashed the check.

I have recently gone through this scam, I wish I could have read your postings before I completed two transactions. I contacted my bank and they are on high alert. Apex Research LLC, in New York City is a scam, I have informed me them that I went to FTC, FBI, and IRS to file a complaint. No one has gotten back to me. NO surprise! I hate I fell for this. I feel like a fool. SMH...

Donald Roy is his name now. Going to send his #Offer to the FTC and let them take him up on it. If you click on the email, it shows one email address. If you hit reply, it shows the email as if it came from the 'real'sender.

CITIZENS BEWARE: As a teacher, I do what I can to make extra money during the summer months. Good thing I know to do my homework and how to do research before I fell prey to the same scam. In an attempt to become a mystery shopper, I responded to an email offer forwarded to me by a trusted friend. Today I received a letter via priority mail from an Alexander Hemming with Sandslogistics (funny he had a gmail address for a supposed corporate email). Company was snslogisticsusa.com The letter asked me to cash the enclosed check of $2853.00 , keep $200 for myself, and use the rest to wire money, evaluating Walmart's Moneygram services. ITS ALL A SCAM!!!!!! check was a teller's check from a MidWestOne Bank in Iowa, Issued by Moneygram in Minnesota, remitted by Michelle Jess, and signed by someone completely different. FRAUD, FRAUD, FRAUD. Now to keep a close eye on all my accounts and my SS# and taxes. CONSUMERS BEWARE!!!!!!! If It's Too Good To Be True - It Is.

These are useful details for a complaint. You can file a consumer complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also report to your state Attorney General.

Shannon June 9th, 2015 Received a letter via USPS about being a mystery shopper along with two USPS money orders for $975 a piece. Many typos, instructed to deposit in my bank and then use money gram at Walmart to send $800 to Michelle Drake in CA and Marc Jerome Pullings also in CA. Letter was from Steve William out of New York. Letterhead starter P&O professional survey and research group partnering company. I googled the company and found this site immediately. I called the 800 number for the USPS money orders and they were fake. Glad I followed my instincts and was wary! So sorry for all of you who were scammed, my heart goes out to you! Tell all your friends to beware!!

Please file a complaint. Blog comments don't go into the database that law enforcement uses to investigate scams.

You can file a consumer complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also report to your state Attorney General.

I too, received an e-mail to become a mystery shopper from a Danielle Roberts from P & O Professional Survey and Research Group, located out of Alabama. I was sent a set of instructions that I would receive a check and then I was supposed to deposit it in my bank account and then send some money to 3 different addresses via Money Gram. I was also supposed to send a check payable to this Danielle person. Which sent up red flags. I responded and said I wasn't interested. I then got a couple of texts saying that it wasn't fair that I signed up for this job, and was sent money, then backed out of it... I'm checking with my bank today to see if the check sent was real - I highly doubt it though. I'm really ticked to see these people get away with this.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

I remember reading along time ago about this scam. Well here it is, haven't revved the check yet and won't cash!!! Will turn in to ffc!

Dear Karen R. Lucas, Information reaching us from FEDEX Courier Service confirmed the delivery of your first assignment today. The package entails a check of $2930. You are required to deposit/cash the check at your bank. Do note that we deal with banks ONLY, Reason is that we make monthly reports of our transactions and financial activities to the government through the bank, so the records are required.

STEPS TO FOLLOW You must memorize key points e.g. staff name, location of toilets etc. Do not use leading questions e.g. “do you sell large drinks?”. This will restrict the level of service the staff are able to provide. Relax, act normally, and do not draw attention to yourself. FIRST ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTION BELOW You will be evaluating a Money gram store and a Western Union outlet in your city. The payment you received covers all expenditures including evaluation, shopping, transport and your compensation (salary = $300.00) for these surveys. The balance of the money will be used to conduct a survey in a Money Gram store and a Western union store respectively. As a Secret Shopper you should go there and study how to send money and memorize all you see at the outlet. Below is the name/info you will transfer the money to. Wire $1200.00 via any Western Union money transfer outlet and another $1200 via Money Gram money transfer outlet.

INFORMATION FOR WESTERN UNION AND MONEY GRAM Name: GLENDA PASCUAL Address: 6315 HOLBORNE IN City: HONOLULU, GA State: HAWAII Zip Code: 96801

Amount: $1200.00•...........MONEY GRAM Amount: $1200.00 ..........WESTERNUNION *You don't need an address to send a western union or Money gram transfer, you have all that is required* BELOW IS THE EXPENDITURES BREAKDOWN:- BELOW IS THE EXPENDITURES BREAKDOWN:- Money Received • $2930• Salary • $300.00• Money gram Wire• $1200.00• Money gram transfer fees. $100• Western Transfer Fees• $130.00• Western Union Wire•. $1200.00• Best Regards, John Brown

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Blog comments don't go into the database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

In about 2 weeks time I have received 3 checks and 1 money order for these illegal mystery shopper things. Where and who can I turn these over to for investigation and hopefully arrests and shutdown. Thanks in advance!!

Please file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov complaint. The details you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

If the scheme involved the U.S. mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also can alert your state Attorney General and the Attorney General in the state where the business or person is based.

I have a nephew that received the same money orders with the same instructions many of you have. But the only difference is he completed the transactions that he was instructed to do. However, by the time he found out that it was all a scam, HE, not the person who initiated tge transactions, was arrested, charged and convicted of Fraud. He now has a criminal record, (keep in mind he has never had so much as a traffic ticket prior to this incident), he can't find a decent job, can't provide for his family, and has completely given up on himself. This kid was a Straight-A student, and a member of the National Honor Society. Yet has life has been ruined, because of one us am that he had nothing to do with.

I received a check by mail for $2,850.00 from Skyport Systems Inc . to be a secret shopper I was to deposit the check in my bank account send $1220 Wal-Mart Money Gram to Marc Jerome Pullings in Albany CA,94706 and another money gram IN THE AMOUNT OF $1250 to Michelle Drake in Albany CA,94706 then I was to email my evaluation to davidmillz01@gmail.com then I would be contacted by text message number(626)478-0462 needless to say I did it now its costing me and my kids to be without a place to live and me owing the bank $2,850.00 .

Please file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

If the scheme involved the U.S. mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also can alert your state Attorney General and the Attorney General in the state where the business or person is based.

 

I got a mystery shopper email a few days ago and i provided my information. I received the check and a Money Gram transfer assignment on what to do with the check.
Direction:You are to DESPOSIT the Cashier’s Check at your bank to withdraw funds instantly or the next morning. When depositing at your bank, these are things you should write down:
• Bank name and Address
• How long it took to receive service
• Customer
• Professionalism
• Amount available after deposit
After successful completion on the first survey, deduct your $300 commission from the funds. You are then to proceed with your second customer service evaluation and this can be conducted from any CVS and wal-mart.
“MONEYGRAM TRANSFER ASSISGNMENT: You are to evaluate two different Wal-mart or cvs locations by sending funds in the location to your corresponding evaluating agents on the receiving end by using money in minutes/transfer service. The balance with after deducting your salary($300) is $1990. You will be going to Walmart or cvs. The funds will divided into 2 parts giving you $995 each. One part. ($995) will be taken to the first Walmart location to carry out your evaluation. The other part ($995) will be taken to the second CVS store to carry out your evaluation.
Below is the information for your evaluating for the first Walmart location ($995) on the reciving end.
Full Name: David Lee Address: 1531 S Grove Ave, Barrington, Illinois 60010 Below is the information for your evaluating agent for the Second CVS store ($995)on the receiving end. Full Name: Larry Martins Address: 1685 Lake Elanor Dr, Deerfield, Illinois 60015
Please take note that the Moneygram transfer fees will be deducted from each of the funds ($995) to be used for evaluation.
Note: Your identity should be kept confidential, as the job states (Secret Shopper). You should not let the bank cashier or Walmart and cvs agents know you are performing a customer service evaluation as the may not give an accurate.”
It goes on to tell me they need the conformation from Moneygram.
The people who sent it to me was from New York, the Bank is in Arizona, The people who I was supposed to send the money to are in Illinois, But the company (Freelance Market Research Analyst) is in Tennessee
They are consist texting is the funds was deposit and o let them know when I deposit it. And telling I am going to Jail and they are going to call the police on me.

If someone you don't know asks you to deposit a check and wire money back, don't do it. Once you send the money, it's gone, and you can't get it back.  If the check turns out to be a fraud, you will have to repay the bank the money you withdrew. This article tells more about fake check scams.

It can be hard to tell if a check is a forgery. Under federal law, a bank generally must make funds available to you within a certain time. But just because funds are available doesn’t mean the check is good.  It can take weeks for a bank to untangle what's behind a forged check. If a bank gives you money and then finds out a check is a fraud, you're responsible to repay the money you withdrew.

You can forward the email to the FTC at spam@uce.gov. We'll enter it into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I received an email from someone claiming to be from a mystery shopping company after I sent them my information. I knew it was a scam when they said they would mail materials to me along with funds. Beware of someone named Danielle Dufayet with an email address of daniellertc19. Below is the email:
Dear Shopper,
I received your information in good time and will like to congratulate you as a member of our working team. As a mystery shopper you are responsible for gather information, giving ideas, and improving brand standards of products and services. You have been selected to conduct an all expenses paid survey and evaluation in your area. As our mystery shopper posing as a normal customer, you are expected to perform specific tasks such as purchasing a product or using a service. While there, you will secretly evaluate things like customer service, store cleanliness and quality of service rendered. You would have to keep a comprehensive report on every activity you carry out. Some of the simple questions in your shopper's report will be:
• Were the employees friendly and courteous?
• Did you receive prompt service?
• Was the merchandise displayed neatly?
• Would you return to this store / restaurant?
• Was it easy to use the service?
That’s all there is to it! The answers to these kinds of questions are extremely valuable to any business - and they are willing to pay top dollar to find out what consumers really think. You will be providing important information that will be used to improve the quality of businesses everywhere. Where will I be mystery shopping?
The companies we deal with mostly represent large chain stores and popular franchises with hundreds and thousands of locations across the United States.
They are stores, services and restaurants like:
• CVS
• WAL-MART
• WESTERN UNION
• RITE AID
• WALSGREEN
• MONEY GRAM
• 7ELEVEN
No commitment, membership fee, special skills are not required for this assignment. Your survey packet which includes funds for the shopping will be mailed to you. Confirm in writing your readiness to complete your first assignment and let your opinion count. SECRET SHOP INC ®

Please forward the email to the FTC at spam@uce.gov. We'll enter it into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I just received the email looking for shoppers it looked legit at first so I submitted my info. I received an email a week later from a different person advising I would be receiving a check via fedex to use for my first job using western union to send money. The grammer was poor and so was the spelling. It advised I should notify them when I deposited the check and it should be done within 24 hours. The check was from a bank in Iowa and the fedex came from Texas All three emails were from different names. I emailed back that I would not be depositing the check and I would contact the local police. The local police said the best thing to do is to comment on a forum regarding this scam so here I am.

I received a heck today for $4,842.65 for Mystery Shopper gig. I called the bank and it's a real bank, the address on the check is legit but the assignment coordinator's phone number is not toll free. The check looks and feels completely real. I am in the middle of packing up important belongings for me, my husband and my two kids because we have been evicted and have to be out by tomorrow with no place to go. When my husband saw this check, he started crying hysterically and praising Jesus for a blessing.. I quickly grabbed the check and started to investigate. The instructions say for me to call my coordinator Stanley Payton to "activate" check? Then take $450 -probationary training, $100 -funds needed for shopping,$4,052.65 forteansaction at money gram, $240 for service charge money gram. With desperation, part of my wants to deposit this check so my family will have a roof over our heads now and deal with the consequences later. But the other part of me says DONT YOU DARE!!!! Advise, legally how much trouble would I get into?

 Keep in mind that until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.Beware of Fake Checks Scam. Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you within certain time. However, just because funds are available doesn’t mean the check is good. Forgeries can take weeks to be discovered and untangled.

Received priority mail with letter and suntrust check asking me to wire all but 250 to a random "secret shopper" and return reports for my bank & the western union - which would have made sense if earlier in the letter it asked for reports on 3 agencies (not 2. Unsolicited scam, and it went to my fiancé s house under my name, not to my actual address. Big scam, bet it's targeting disabled vets/hud housing addresses. Which is even worse. Don't fall prey, this stupid scam is obviously alive and well still.

Paul Turney check $2755.00 Secret Shopper scam I fell victim to his online Craigslist scam. posting daily posts for house keeping and nanny positions.I fell victim have been arrested and is awaiting court. they refused me a court appointed lawyer. And I can not afford a personal lawyer.

I just got one of these letters also from Microsoft secret secret shopper on a check for 2750 I think I don't know what to do with the check just send it back throw it away I don't know what to do with it anybody got any advice

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

If you have emails from the scammers, forward them to the FTC at spam@uce.gov.

If the scheme involved the U.S. mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also can alert your state Attorney General.

 

I received a check today ($1539)and the same mystery shopper letter. Already reported it to the FTC. This needs to be stopped.

just got one with the names Chris Babbit, Jonathan Daniels, and including the money gram scam for $2,875. reason I caught it was, they said $300 was mine, but to send 2500 to one place and the rest to another. Serious, if youre gonna try to scam, get your math right.

Same scam about Mystery Shopping and wiring money. Scammer guy's name is "JACK MULLER" Also mailed me a check which I tore up and trashed.

I received a check today for $2853.00 from Alexander Hemming along with a printed off letter with confidential across the front telling me to deposit in my bank account and keep 200.00 and send the rest to two other shoppers. If done in 24 hours they'll send me another 100.00...duh, who in there right mind would send out a cashier check for over $2800 to a stranger in hopes they would be stupid enough to put it in the bank and then send most of it back. Yeah bad check, thanks for this site, I knew something just wasn't right. For all you asking I would tear it up, and mark the email as spam. LOL

I received a cashiers check for 1,360.00 in the mail yesterday. I had no idea what it was and saw the note inside: This is your first shopper assignment immediately you receive this proceed to your bank to get it cashed or deposit it in your acct for at lease 24-48 hrs via ATM or your bank for clearance. Once you do that send an email to rwgood51 or send a text to 781-691-3588.

It has scam written all over it because of spelling and grammar errors and no mention of a company name anywhere. I did a google search and found this page so it looks like this is common.

I emailed the guy to ask what company he works for and to give me more info. He said it was for Walmart and he worked for Zeb Shopper Inc. I'm sure this is some company he made up as nothing about it online at all. He wasn't very forthcoming to supply me much info except to tell me it will be fun.

Hopefully this guy and others doing the same get stopped. These people need to find a real job and get off their lazy behinds. Earn money like everyone else.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments aren't included in the database.

Interesting that this very same group of scammers is still active and obviously continue to profit after so many years of operation. Here is the scam email sent today by 'Secret Shopper Inc.'

From: Brandon Davis

Mystery Shopper is accepting applications for qualified individuals (18+) to become mystery shoppers and merchandisers. Its fun and rewarding, and you choose when and where you want to shop Wal-mart, Western Union e.t.c . There is no charge to become a shopper and you do not need previous experience. After you sign up, We would pay $300 per assignment which would come in the form of a cashiers check along with comprehensive details in regards your evaluation assignment. APPLY NOW to become a mystery shopper®. Best Regards, Brandon Davis. Secret Shopper Inc Copyright (c) 2015 All Rights Reserved

I received an email and being well young and pretty naive i replied and sent them all my information. I received a check for $1,977 dollars in 3 days, i opened it and but didnt really look at it. I got this bad gut feeling. They keep emailing me telling me that I will be late turning in my report. I made up and excuse saying i was moving half way across the world and to please not send anything out anymore. I decided to look it up and it brought me to this blog, I did file a complaint. The guys name is John Pual, maybe i should have seen how he spelled his last name. I called and txt the numbe that was on the email and a lady answered me when I asked that I was looking for John Pual, she told me she had been receiving so many calls looking for him as well. I feel bad for her. I have tried to block him from my email but somehow it appears again and again.

I was a victim recently. The name on the email states Brian Thompson.... Thanks goodness I didn't spend anything. Really don't know what actions my bank will take. I feel so dumb because I should've known better. My advice would be to just research before depositing anything in ur account but most likely if it is legit.... U won't get anything until u have done the work.

I just got a mystery shopper "job" and a check for $2,875.00!! The name on the envelope is Charles Ragland, Middleburg, FL.He wants me to do my mystery shopper job at Western Union by sending $1250.00 to (2) two separate people, both in the Philippines, keeping $300.00 for my work. I already knew this was a scam. I'm reporting to the FTC.

I receive same email, please what is the email you receive the message from

I answered an ad in my local paper for mystery shopper. sent them my resume. I got an email today to reply back to get a check mailed out.

I also received a check for $2350.00 in the mail along with a beginner packet telling me to send some of the money by Cashier's check to two different people and use part of the money to pay for these and keep the rest along with my purchase etc. I tried checking BBB and nothing. I e-mail them and never got a reply. I was beginning to think this a scam and this has confirmed it. I was going to go to the bank to check on this but now I see it is truly a scam. So glad I did not do anything with this check. Thanks everyone.

I should have mentioned that the e-mail address was secretshopper193729 . and the name of the guy contacting me was James Smith. Smith of all people and a gmail address. Fishy

Just so you know. The name on the envelope may be a scammed person too! Somebody is using my cancelled ups account to send these things out. I only found out when several were returned to sender. Apparently if they have an account number ups doesn't check to see if it's cancelled or if it's your own. Thank goodness I'm not out any money but who knows how many of these checks were send with my name as the sender!

I just received a priority mail today with a check for 2800 and instructions. Last week I had a email sent asking for my name and address to register to be a secret shopper. I had been looking to making some extra money for the holidays (and bills) so at first when I saw the check I was really excited. But of course if it's too good to be true, then it mostly likely is. After reading the instructions from a Greg Brewer in Texas to go to a Western Union I just knew it wasn't right. Thank god for access to the Internet to double check things. Can you imagine this 50 years ago?? I'm reporting it to the FTC and taking the mail to my local sherriff dept. From what I just read, they are gonna start sending me some harassing emails.

New scammer 'names': Timothy Derrison, Daisy Walton, Dorothy Yardley, Tywan Bell and Caroline Dillon.

Watch for First US Bank. Routing number is bogus. Rodney Gray and Gregory Tucker, both of Houston, Tex, were recipients.

The above said master-mind of mystery Shopper or better said or claiming as "Walter Scott" who is located at 3788 Waterside Ct., Addison, TX 75001 is still well and operating. He/she is offering you $2920 with a FAKE cahier check with bank name but address on it sent to you by priority mail if you fall for his/her scam. He/she has a telephone number of 224-444-6337 (in Illinois) and wants you to send money to two other people (PRESHAUNA NICOLE COOPER and ARLETTA RENEE BROWN) in Reddings, California, while he/she is operating from Addison, Texas. What I don't understand is, where are the so-called STUPID and incompetent authorities? What happened to the criminal penalty for fraudulent use of the United States Postal Service?

The details you have could be useful to law enforcement.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations nationwide.

If the scheme involved the U.S. mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You also can alert your state Attorney General.

Thank you for the contact information "Bridget Small". I have reported the issue to the USPS. If I hear or see anything positive from the USPS, I will also contact the FTC and the State Attorney General.
Thanks

One thing you MUST do when you receive a fraud check through the mail, report it to the US POSTAL INSPECTOR. THIS IS MAIL FRAUD. The USPS tracks the activities of the fraudsters and have a data base that holds all of the information from victims or scams.

Got email from Robertlinden     Robert Lindenberger Sat 2015-12-19 10:29 AM Inbox To: (my email) You replied on 2015-12-20 4:50 PM. Attn: Prospective Shopper, Thanks for your Prompt Message to us. Your Application Has Been Processed and approved. The company is happy for the turn up made by you regarding the job offer and all details you sent to us in your mail has been filed and passed on to the database management department for updates on the first payment. Payment would be forwarded to you and all you need to do is to follow the instructions given to you.

JOB DESCRIPTION: 1} When an assignment is given to you, you would be provided details to execute the assignment in a timely fashion. 2} You would be asked to visit a company or store in your area as a secret shopper and shop with them to know more about their sales and stock, cost sales and more details as provided by the company then report back to us with report. But anything you buy at the shop belongs to you. All we want is an effective/quick discharging of your job and detailed reports.

ASSIGNMENT PACKAGE: Before any assignment we would provide you with the resources needed {cash} Mostly our company would issue you a check,Then we would be providing you details on here. But you follow all information given to you as a secret shopper. You can earn more which involves nothing more than shopping at a number of selected retailers and assessing their customer service and reporting back to us in a very detailed manner. We welcome you to our organization and look forward to your contribution to the growth of the organization and yourself. I will urge you to carry out the first assignment as soon as you get the the payment to handle your task. The company is solemnly behind you and will not give room for any act of indulgence. The company is wishing you best of luck as you keep working with us.

Are you able, capable and willing to carry out the evaluation assignment in a timely manner, effectively and efficiently? I will await your immediate response. A confirmatory of the receipt of this email will be appreciated as the payment to carry out the first assignment will be processed immediately . Regards, Robert Lindenberger Recruiting Department Mystery Shoppers®/Evaluator Consultant

I am assume it too good to be true since $400 for a task also I am only inactive membership of any mystery shopper site. Also before this email I was so call hired for post ads on indeed $200 weekly but before that I have to cash out 1,350 check and go to money gram and make credit card of $1,100 and give information of it. Good things I have many people knowing about scams out there and protection me from making huge mistake which could hurt my family's fund.

This is the email I just received:

"Acknowledge This Email After Reading" Dear M M, How are you today? This is to update you that you will be receiving a payment for your first retail assignment today or tomorrow via the postal service and the tracking number for the pkg is (940                 ) you can track it at www. usps. com.

You are kindly advise to Deposit the payment and have the Equivalent Value withdrawn and Note**You are to run a survey on two prominent Companies in your area this festive period, which is Wal-Mart & Money Gram money transfer.

1, You are to deduct $300 for your commission from the total payment received after completion of first assignment.Here Is The Final Update & Instructions On How To Complete Your First Assignment BELOW IS THE EXPENDITURES BREAKDOWN:- Received Payment (check of $2950) Your Assignment Salary ...... $300 (for your commission) Wal-mart ..................$50 (to be kept by you) Money Gram...................$2600 You are to send $1300 each through Two different Money Gram stores to the Secret Shopper Agent information below.Kindly make sure you deduct Money Gram fee from the balance of each $1300 before sending and Please pay for Money In Minutes. RECEIVER:- Surname: Ford First name: John Address: 244 E Ave. Lancaster, CA 93535

2, You are to make a purchase of any electronic or any item worth $50 from any Wal-Mart location in your area (to be kept by you) and is now your duty to take note of the following activities at the Wal-Mart & both Money Gram Location while sending the funds. 1) How long it took you to get services. 2) Ambiance/Outlook of the Shop/Outlet 3) Smartness of the attendant 4) Customer service professionalism 5) Reaction of personnel under pressure 6) Information that you think would be helpful 7) Your comments and impressions.

3, You are required to proceed to two different Money Gram Stores in your area with the reaming balance to perform your transfer assignment, after you might have deducted your $300 commission and $50 for the Wal-Mart duty. As soon as you have done this, You are to e-mail me the following information below: 1,The name and address of the sender 2,The reference number of each transaction (8 digit) 3,The exact amount to be received after deducting money gram charges from each $1300 NOTE: The transfer charges should be deducted from the available balance. you are to email me back the reports once you complete the assignment.. Best Regards, Daniel Whitmarsh Consumer Research Group Mystery Shopper®.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

I was contacted after they saw my details on LinkedIn. The person who has been contacting me is Michael Thompson. I thought it was odd that he was contacting me from a gmail address (mike.marketresearch@gmail.com), despite the fact that he has a corresponding photo. Over the weekend, he followed up asking if I'd received his prior email. I suppose I had, but I was busy spending time with my family over the holidays so I found this a bit pushy.

When the check for $2,750 arrived, I was provided with the following breakdown:

* BELOW IS YOUR EXPENDITURE BREAKDOWN:-

You have been sent your payment . You are to deduct:

--NIKE accessories shopping--

Shopping expenditure - $200
Assignment Salary .......$300
Amount to send through transfer to Tester......................$2,150
Transfer fee Charges and Transportation....$100
Total............................$2,750

I actually googled the cost of the items I was asked to purchase and there is no way they cost $200.

Here are the names of the individuals to whom I was asked to wire money:

Please send $900 through Moneygram transfer to tester #2

MR SAMUEL JOHNSON
501 Elizabeth Avenue
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

And Please send $900 to Tester #3 through Moneygram transfer to ;

MR Andrew Martins
2201 North Sam Houston Pkwy,
Houston, TX 77038

And send the remaining balance to tester # 2 through Moneygram transfer to ;

MR SAMUEL JOHNSON
501 Elizabeth Avenue
Elizabeth, NJ 07201

As others have commented, the bank exists and the routing number is correct, which means the checks must be the problem. From the start, I had a problem with a few things:

In addition to the gmail account, the emails themselves were riddled with typos. Also, the check was from Bailey Plumbing, Inc. in Durango, CO, yet it was sent from Daniels, NJ in a plain envelope with no logo, no return address and no transmittal letter. Lastly, I was asked to complete my assignment 'within 24 hours,' which was the oddest request of all.

After coming to this site and reading others' experiences, which are oddly similar to mine, I responded that I was withdrawing from the 'assignment.' Thanks all!

Got the same scam and knew the minuet they set me a personal email, here is part of the first email and this should be your first clue this is not for real!! I played along to see what they were going to do and yes I got the 2 money orders with the address in Philippians to send money orders to. And here were are today as I have reported this and hope they can stop them before they do some poor person some real damage. If it's to good to be true then is not for real!!!
How are you doing today?

The Board of Directors of the K-Mart Mystery Shopping Company uses this medium to congratulate you on the approval of your application, it has been forwarded to our personnel department for processing. Your information will be forwarded to our clients as one of our new survey agent immediately, as soon as they have any job for you it will be communicated to you through us.

I will be willing to work for your company hope you can keep me as a worker for you guys.

Yes, I received an email regarding Mystery Shopping. The second mail explained to me what I would be expected to do. They told me I would be getting a check in the mail and yes, Walmart. Well, I didn't respond to their email so they never sent the check. These people need to be stopped. I also, had some guy talking with me on facebook. I am in many work at home groups. He was telling me about this job and I was hoping for it to be true. I did give him my address, but somewhere in between that time and a few minutes later I delete him. I know it was a scam. I did get close to a $500 check in the mail. I called the bank an the girl told me it is an online scam and that the FBI were now involved. I asked what I should do with the check and she said it was up to me I could tear it up if I wanted. So I did. They need to be stopped.

I just received a check from the Kmart Mystery Shopping Company as well.. Im so glad my friend told me to google it and your site came up.... thanks

I received a check Saturday for $1900. It appeared to be from City of Surprise AZ and was even signed by an actual employee with the city. I was told to deposit the check and let them know once the funds were available. I told them I was not going to deposit it but would instead cash it. When I responded back that I had the cash, the reply from the text said "This is not a working number". Of course I did not cash it or deposit it, I just said that to see what they would say. Be aware!

I got the following email, which I thought was legitimate because it came from Kmart.com and the "click here" part took me to a Sears Holdings website that looked legitimate. I gave them my name and address and email and phone number, but nothing else. I was contacted by cell phone message. After reading several things here, I responded to text message that I had second thoughts and wanted to be removed from their list. Then I blocked the number.

The name used is Steve Morrison, phone number 267-629-2377. I did a reverse phone number search and just got the area of Doylestown, PA. At least I quit before I got or gave any checks out.

We have a job survey and we need you in our team. We are hiring secret shoppers. No experience needed, just an honest opinion. The job requires you to shop and evaluate our employees. You will get paid to eat, shop and keep the products. For more information and sign up form click here Good Day, Kmart Ltd

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

hello all,i received the same apparent scam as "pebbles" above who posed on february 1, 2016 -

on january 27, 2016 i received an email appearing to be from kmart.com - and i'd never received ANY emails purporting to be from kmart.com (whereas fake WALmart emails i have seen all the time), specifically, and this came at a time when i had shopped at kmart for the first time in years, so it was either a coincidence ...or an employee of kmart had possibly harvested my personal information...

i was also directed to a webpage that appeared to represent "sears holdings," app.schemr.net/jobs, and because it didNT ask for my social security number, or bank account info, i did give my name and cellphone number, and i was later contacted by cellphone, by someone claiming to be Michael Archer, 828-355-5548, and told i'd been approved, and asked to reply to confirm ...unfortunately, i DID reply and confirmed my name ...i don't know what will happen now, but for starters if i receive any check, or am asked to wire money, i am NOT...i'm so grateful for this website, being able to look things up, and to PEBBLES above for sharing her experience...

best of luck everybody...

I just received a text yesterday at 3:31pm from 832-604-3030 that goes like this "Good day, This is Michael Archer from the Kmart secret shopper program. This is to affirm that your application has been approved confirm receipt of this text". I did response back to confirm but I'm very thankful for this website alarming others so they don't fall for the tricks.

I too am so gullible.. its awful. I responded to an email I got and asked just for my name, address and phone number. I thought well maybe its real because I was recently as kmart. I signed up, but i never heard anything back and then i got a text to confirm receipt, i replied with a yes. Still nothing, then 2 days ago i got just a typed letter with a cashier's check for $2980. Said you can deposit this check into you your account via, ATM, phone or whatever basically. My husband said let me do some research on this. Well i have been doing my own research and its like... where do these people come from...man i am so gullible. I did not deposit this cashiers check. However, the letter stated that i were to go to Kmart after the check cleared the next business day and buy a product i needed for at least $50. Then go to 2 different Walmart's and send money gran to 2 different people with American names at 2 different locations in TX. These 2 people had 2 emails attached one was a Gmail and one was a Yahoo account. The letter stated to make sure you DO NOT let the Walmart employee know who you are because you are a mystery shopper, i was SUPPOSED to send them $1300 a piece and keep $400 for myself. I googled the name and nothing happened i used 411.com to locate the number which i have received the text from. The disposable phone i assume was reported from AR. So the guy that is contacting is " Michael Archer ". I received a text yesterday, stating that the first assignment have been delivered to your mailbox via USPS check your mailbox for evaluation package and confirm receipt of this text - Michael Archer. WTF man! Clearly sending me $7.00 kind of certified mail is scary. Im not desperate for money but extra money always helps. The check is just sitting on my counter. I need to frame so i never fall for this again. Thank you " CTRL F" for helping me locate spam artist Michael Archer, bunch of jerks! probably laughing as i respond or while they are putting labels on my envelope. You may have my home address but you will NOT steal from me...

I too got the email and since I was unemployed at the time, I responded. Got the USPS 2 Day Priority envelope today with the letter of instructions and a check for $2850. Same sort of breakdown. $305/salary, $90/shop at Kmart or if one was not close then Walmart, $55 for money transfer fees, $1200 to someone in TX and $1200 to someone in FL. I contacted Washington Federal who the Cashiers check was made from and they confirmed the scam. They asked me if I could provide pictures and better than that I scanned everything I received including the USPS envelope with the tracking number to them along with the original email that I received about the Secret Shopper opportunity. These guys are pretty sneaky but if you look for the clues you will be able to detect these scammers. Some are the before mentioned like clerical errors but others are like with mine, the senders name did not match the name of the remitter on the check. The biggest is asking us to send money to other people. Hope this helps someone else from becoming a victim.

This has to be a scam. You can deposit all of the money in the bank and not send any of the money to anyone else. How are they going to get their money back? I just got a check in the mail. A letter of instructions was sent with it. The letterhead was forged. They copied and pasted it on the paper. You can see the different color in the background. When in doubt, call the bank on the check and see if the money is good.

mine sent from Gale Russel and Employment Connections Inc, 905 S grand in Spencer iowa, google shows this to be legit. Letter and mystery assignment guide is on plain white paper from mark sisodia text/phone three four seven six nine five o 2 seven.

A scammer may misuse the name or address or other information of a legitimate business.

Received a check for $2,650. They had initially told me they would pay me my fee by Money Order, so when the check came I knew it was scam city. It came from: Diane Wilson, Diane Ent., Sandy Valley NV I will contact Brannen Bank, on which the check is allegedly drawn, about their bank being used in a scam.

I received a $977.30 POSTAL MONEY ORDER with instructions to write from Megan Graf-adderess: 27 Whitemre Ln, Coram, NY 11727 pay to: my name and address. They want me to cash it at once at the counter at my bank, deduct my pay of $200, spend less than $20 at Walmart and Western Union remaining $760 to Thomas Philip in Illinois. Is it a scam if my bank cashes the check?

This could be a Fake Check Scam.

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you within a certain time. But just because the bank gives you some of the money doesn’t mean the check is good. It can take weeks to discover and untangle a forgery.

Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check were deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check. That means if the is no good, you have to repay all the money you took out.

I am going through this right now. They are hounding me to see if I got my check. it is for $2,445.00. 45 is for expenses, 400 is for me and I was to buy $2,000.00 in prepaid visa cards and send a photo of the front and back of the cards. I was to write a basic report but no other instructions were given.

I just received a check for $1745, claiming they are with Shadow Shopper and want me to do a Mystery Shop on MoneyGram. The scammers aren't very accurate because they give very vague email instructions. The bank name on the cashier's check is a real bank, but I'm sure it's a fake check. I will report it to the FTC and send it through the shredder.

Here is an email that was sent to me recently about becoming a Mystery Shopper:

We have a mystery shopping assignment in your area and we would like you to participate. Mystery Shopper is accepting applications for qualified individuals to become mystery shoppers. It's fun and rewarding, and you choose when and where you want to shop. You are never obligated to accept an assignment. There is no charge to become a shopper and you do not need previous experience.

Mystery Shopper NEVER charge fees to become a shopper, mystery shoppers are paid a prearranged fee for a particular shop, We have available for immediate assignment an inspection of the customer service of any Western Union in your area. This fee will be paid upfront. During this shop you will visit the location and make several observations as regards the customer service. You will be required to interact with the shop clerk. You may conduct the shop alone or as a couple. The assignment will pay $170.00/ assignment.

Kindly Fill Out the application form below and we will get back to you shortly with the assignment. You can also send the below required information as plain text email. PERSONAL INFORMATION: First Name.. Middle Name.. Last Name.. Street Address(Not PO Box) .. City, State, Zip Code .. Cell Phone Number .. Home Phone Number .. Age.. Current Occupation.. Alternate Email Address .. AVAILABILITY: Days/Hours Available Monday . Tuesday . Wednesday . Thursday . Friday . Saturday . Sunday . Hours Available: We await your urgent response. Thank you for your help. We look forward to working with you. Sincerely, Timothy White. Mystery Shoppers, Inc.

BE AWARE WHEN YOU SEE UNDISCLOSED RECIPIENTS IN THE HEADER!!!!!

I just received a message via LinkedIn about this same thing! Personal Profiles, Inc. I received a priority mail package with a check for $3,330 and was asked to deposit the check and then purchase six VANILLA ONE prepaid VISA cards and photograph them and send them the photos of the front and back of the cards, and could keep $300 ($30 processing fee for each card). I was told that I would be using these cards for my next "assignments." Luckily I did research and am not falling for this. I would be out $3330!! Name of the bank on their "check" is Delta Community Credit Union and the names associated with this scam are: Alicia Vokes & Johnny Giordano. I emailed and texted them that I am aware of their scam and not to contact or mail me anything again. DON'T FALL FOR IT!!

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

Yes, I too received a retail mystery shopper email. Went through the motions, received a check for $2,875.00. was to proceed to Western-Union store. Make a transfer to Williams Munoz in the amount of 2,500 in Istanbul, Turkey!! You gotta be kidding. Pay Western Union 125.00, I get to keep 250.00. No one sends checks out just like that, gimme a break.

I recevied a money order for $975.00 from Brent Dickenson. Is this a scam? asked me to cash the money order then spend $50 at Wal-mart keep $200 for commision then send the rest to Frankie Button. Is this a scam

yes it is a scam

this is a fake!!!! My check came in the mail today and there was no bank on it just the po box of an insurance co with a claim number on it.

I recevied a money order for $3975.00 from duckfield Truman. I spent all of it and no bank said anything. should I be honest and the tell the bank and the scammer that both there money I burn on crap I don't need!!!!

How did you cash a check that was fake

On a forged government check or Cashiers check, it can take sometimes 6 months to a year for the bank to find the fraud. They will discover it, and they will find you to get their money back!! Hope you invested it wisely!!!

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