Shopping Scams Increase

Some people shopping after Christmas may believe they are being paid to hunt for bargains. In fact they’ll end up paying far more than they can imagine.

It’s called the "Secret Shopper Scam".

Deb Rhoads got a check in the mail for $4,200 to shop and turn in a survey. All she had to do was deposit the check in her own account and wire most of the money back to a mystery shopper company. She could keep the merchandise and $300. Deb says, “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. It’s just bogus”

Deb didn’t fall for the scam but worries that others will because of desperate economic times. Deb says, “I can see people in distress not wanting to commit crimes but this looks legal.”

Postal inspector Dave Margritz says none of these checks are real. He says scam artists act like it's a real part time job sending you undercover to check how stores treat you when you shop.

Margritz says, “You think you are using their money but it’s your money. This check will not clear and the bank will come after you.”

He warns anyone receiving a secret shopper or mystery shopper check to not cash it. The postal inspectors have a website, fakechecks.org, to verify these kinds of checks are bogus.

Due to the economy more of these checks are being sent to potential victims.


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