Mystery Shopper Scam = FAIL


Finally, a story about a mystery shopper scam that has a happy ending. Back in January, Kathy Jones of Chesterfield, Virginia wired $4680 via Western Union as part of what she thought was a mystery shop. You know the rest, right? Shortly after sending the money, her credit union informed her that the check she had received bounced and she would have to repay the money. The happy twist?

How Secret Shopper Scams Gain Your Trust


Scammers succeed by getting their victims to trust them. This is true for secret shopper scams, lottery scams, pigeon drops, home repair scams or any other type of scam. Getting potential victims to trust them is easier than you might think. For one thing, honest people may not understand how scams work, and may be less likely to spot the signs of a scam. And most people expect others to act as they do. Because most people are basically honest, {Read More}

Mystery Shopper Scam Uses Name of MSPA


In the last few days, I have been contacted by two mystery shoppers who let me know they received mystery shopper scam emails that claimed to be from the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA). Both were obvious scams, but the scam might not be as obvious to someone unfamiliar with mystery shopping. The use of the MSPA name is clearly an attempt to make the scam look legitimate to people who are not acquainted with secret shopping, or have just {Read More}

What Wire Transfer Companies Can Do to Stop Mystery Shopper Scams


Dr. Linda Eagle of the Edcomm Group Banker’s Academy was recently interviewed by San Francisco’s KGO-TV Consumer Reporter Michael Finney for a 7 On Your Side story exploring the actions wire transfer companies are taking to stop financial scams. With the amount of money appropriated from scams in the US reaching $24 million in 2008, the story reported that many scams are still going unnoticed at money transfer companies across the country.

Mystery Shoppers Aren’t the Only Ones Getting Scammed


So by now everyone reading this has heard about the check scam that lures victims by telling them they can earn hundreds of dollars for an hour or so of work. All they have to do is cash a check for a couple thousand dollars (generously provided by the scammer), keep a few hundred for their time, and wire the rest to another person (often in Canada, but they could be anywhere). The scam? Sometime after the money has been {Read More}

Are Mystery Shopper Scams Getting Sneakier?


I ran across a story about a secret shopper scam with a new twist. If true, it means that mystery shopper scammers are trying to get ahead of the curve to continue their schemes as more people get wise to them. However, I suspect that this story may not be exactly as it appears. Here is the story about a secret shopper scam that appeared on a Wisconsin television station. According to the report, a woman signed up to be {Read More}

Checking Out Mystery Shopping Scams


I get emails every day asking about this or that email that someone received, or a company or some specific offer. What concerns me about some of these emails is that people are asking the wrong questions. They ask things such as, “Is XYZ Company a legitimate mystery shopping company?,” overlooking the fact that the email or check they got isn’t really from XYZ Company. One shopper forwarded some correspondence between a friend of hers and a scammer. Fortunately, the {Read More}

MoneyGram to Repay $18 Million to Victims of Mystery Shopper Scam and Other Scams


A statement released by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission says, MoneyGram International, Inc., the second-largest money transfer service in the United States, will pay $18 million in consumer redress to settle FTC charges that the company allowed its money transfer system to be used by fraudulent telemarketers to bilk U.S. consumers out of tens of millions of dollars. MoneyGram also will be required to implement a comprehensive anti-fraud and agent-monitoring program. While this is only a fraction of the money {Read More}

Mystery Shopping Sites – Which Ones Should I Join?


Question from a secret shopper: I want to become a mystery shopper. When I search for information, I get a lot of sites that want me to join. Some of them seem to offer free mystery shops, but others charge a monthly fee. Before I start running up a bunch of charges, I need to know if I can make money as a mystery shopper, and which site I should join. Do I need to join more than one? Help! {Read More}

Mystery Shopper Scam Used State Job Search System

The folks running mystery shopper scams are becoming even more brazen. In Idaho, they used a job board operated by the Idaho Department of Labor to troll for victims. Using a state-sponsored job board is just another example of the things criminals will do to make their scams appear to be legitimate. Many job seekers probably believe that companies and their postings are reviewed and approved by the state before a job can appear on the board. Not true. From {Read More}