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 sent off by the victim and claimed by the scammer, the check is discovered to the a forgery. The victim’s bank demands that they pay back all of the money, plus fees for the returned check and any checks the victim has now bounced because their account was debited for the amount of the bogus check.

We refer to mystery shopper scams, but in fact this is a check/wire transfer scam.

Mystery shopping is just one of many disguises used by the scammers. One version involves the scammer buying something through eBay or CraigsList, then sending a check for thousands more than the purchase price and asking the seller to wire the difference back to them. Scam.

Now the scammers are targeting lawyers. According to a story in the ABA Journal, two Hawaiian law firms were swindled out of half a million dollars with this same scam. A “client” retained them, then sent a huge overpayment and asked them to wire back the difference. Same song, new verse.

Folks, the bottom line on this is: NEVER WIRE MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW. Ever. Even if you think you know them, even if they claim to be giving you money or a job, or buying something from you. Even if they claim they are a friend of your grandson, and he needs the money to get out of jail. (Another common variation on this scam.) Even if anything.

Once more: NEVER WIRE MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW. It is always a scam. In every case. Always.


  1. Michelle L says

    Would you give a stranger money and ask them to wire transfer to someone else? If you answered no, then what makes you different? No one is going to send you money for no reason. You need to work for your money. I got 2 checks in amount of $975.00 each. Same thing, he wanted me to wire transfer to some guy in SPAIN that’s red flag #1. He must think I’m stupid because on the money order it shows someone in my hometown issued the money order but the address it has on the money order is the address of a Travel Lodge red flag #2 and the letter has a label stating it shipped from Maryland red flag #3. Company name J AND J LLC 5179 ELIOTS OAK RD COLUMBIA RD sent by JAMES W JONES. He also text me to make sure I got the letter and the # that appears on my phone is 924-665-01 red flag #4 these are ghost #s so that you can’t call them. The name of the person who e-mailed me is Donald Anderson and his e-mail address are, Really, Donald, do you think I was going to fall for this? Just remember, what goes around comes around. KARMA will come get you harder then what you have done to others.

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