Scammers lie. It’s what they do. Anyone who is willing to steal thousands of dollars from you has no problem telling a couple of lies.
Honest people tend to take what scammers say at face value. They believe them, because as honest people their first instinct isn’t to lie and cheat people. To protect yourself from scammers, you have to understand that everyone doesn’t think and act as you do, and you cannot assume that random strangers on the Internet are honest and have your best interests at heart.
Here are eight lies that mystery shop scammers tell:
You were (seemingly randomly) chosen to be a mystery shopper for us. Mystery shopping companies do not send spam emails to people at random to offer them assignments. If you didn’t fill out an application at the company’s website, they are not going to send you assignments.
We represent a legitimate mystery shopping company. Scammers often use the names of legitimate mystery shopping companies, but do not be fooled. Their emails typically come from a free account, and not the website domain owned by the mystery shopping company. If the email address is @hotmail, @yahoo or @gmail, they are probably not with the company they claim to represent.
You will make $200 (or more) per shop. On a typical mystery shopping assignment, you might be paid a fee and/or reimbursed for a purchase of $5 – $50, more on some that have large required purchases (such as fine dining shops, hotels, etc.). The shops that pay in the high range are not going to be given to a shopper with whom they have never worked.
We guarantee that you will be able to earn hundreds of dollars every week. Mystery shoppers are usually independent contractors. We are not required to take specific assignments, and we are not promised a specific number of assignments or amount of compensation.
We are members of the Better Business Bureau and the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. They are not. They are scammers. If they are using the name of a legitimate company, that company may belong to organizations such as BBB and MSPA, but the scammer does not. Do not be fooled by logos and other trust symbols in their emails.
We have big name clients, like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Home Depot. Again, no they do not. They are scammers. They have no clients, only victims. Just because they say something it doesn’t mean that it is true. Some scammers put the logos of well-known companies in their letters and emails to convince victims that they are legitimate, but those logos do not mean anything.
The check we sent you is real. This can seem to be true when your bank releases the funds a few days after you deposited the scammer’s check. However, the bank is required to make funds available within a few days. That is Federal law. It doesn’t mean that the check has actually cleared. It could be weeks before they discover the check is fraudulent. When that happens, they will want their money back. If you have wired it off to the scammer, you are stuck figuring out how to pay it back.
If you don’t send the money, we will have you arrested by the FBI. This is my favorite lie! When a potential victim starts to figure out that something is wrong and they get nervous about sending off the money, the scammer may threaten to have the victim arrested. Seriously. It can be scary, because the victims are honest people who do not get in trouble with the law. Being told that they could be arrested is upsetting. But think about it. This is a scam. The check is fake. What are they going to do? Maybe they could call the FBI and say, “Hello, FBI? I would like you to arrest this person. They refused to allow me to scam them.” Really? I don’t think so. Just ignore them and they will move along to the next victim.
These scams are still common because people keep falling for them. Put an end to them by refusing to be scammed and warning your friends about the fake check scam.