A shopper called me recently and said she had been doing some mystery shops, but one of the assignments she received looked fishy. Well, if it looks like a fish and it smells like a fish, it is probably fishy.
This shopper (who asked that her name not be used) had received a check to do a mystery shop. She deposited the check and the money was in her account ready to be withdrawn and wired off, but she was having a bad feeling about it. She called to ask what I thought. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what I told her: SCAM!
Don’t wire the money, and let your bank know ASAP that you were the victim of an attempted scam. (Letting them know that you deposited a forged check that you thought was legitimate is better than letting them find out the check was fraudulent on their own.)
Because she was getting suspicious, she had been asking the scammer some questions. Shortly after, she got the email below:
US Fraud Unit <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hello [shopper name removed],
We got a report just now from The Premier Mystery Shopping Company about your assignment.
We were told that certain questions were asked regarding the evalution program and the legitimacy of the company.
The Premier Mystery Shopping Company(Royal Care Customer Service Evaluation Team) is a registered and legal company under the United States government and we are also aware of the company’s ongoing secret shopper program. We have investigated this program and we have seen that it is legit and legal.
Please we will advice you to please carry out this assignment as soon as possible so you and the company can proceed with other assignment(s). We will not like to receive a report again regarding this issue.
*PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE*
Oh, geez, where do I begin with this?
Okay, I love the FBI logo in the email. That proves that it really came from the FBI. (Not.) And the email address: email@example.com. Uh, no. You can put any address is the return address or reply to fields. That means nothing. I also like the bit at the bottom about not replying to the email.
The entire email has a threatening tone to it.
- We were told that certain questions were asked regarding the evalution program and the legitimacy of the company. (How dare you ask questions!)
- Please we will advice you to please carry out this assignment as soon as possible so you and the company can proceed with other assignment(s).
- We will not like to receive a report again regarding this issue. (And what happens if you do?)
By the way, I hope that the employees of the FBI have better spelling and grammar skills than the moron who wrote this fake email.
And how about this: We have investigated this program and we have seen that it is legit and legal. Really? The FBI goes around investigating every U.S. company to make sure they are “legit and legal,” then sends out emails to every person who asks a question about the company. Your tax dollars at work. Not happening.
When a scammer threatens you with arrest or legal action, do not take it seriously. It is not against the law to refuse to be scammed by immoral, illiterate jackasses.
Ignore the scammers and refuse to fall for their tricks or be intimated by their threats.
Jerry Ford says
I recently received a check for 4,875.00 to work as a mystery shopper for XPO Logistics.
I thought this was a scam so I looked up mystery shopper check scams and low and behold it smells like a scam. There is no way a company would send you a check w/o any prior interview or application of the prospective employee. The bank is J.P.Morgan chase out of syracuse N.Y. and the company XPO Logistics is from Charlotte N.C. It’s got SCAM written all over it. I will PASS on this one, No Thanks.
Sincerely, Jerry Ford
Cathy Stucker says
Good instincts, Jerry. It is a scam.
Raymond Guy says
Scams that everyone should be aware off. On several occasions I received from Manufactures to receive payments from their customers for products that had been purchased from the supply and in turn for my services would be $2500. to 3500. from each cheque that I receive. (Good profit if it was legit .)
When I asked the Manufacture why he needed someone to receive payments in this country? He indicated that it took the people to long to get the cheque to long to get the cheque to the manufacture causing a delay in company business.(A Mega Printing Company in China)
This appeared to be a real scam and shoppers are advised not to fall for it.
JACK PARK says
the scammer sent a check for $4,150 and said divide it into three payments in three different cities. the math on all the transactions etc., did not add up. then the amount of the check was too high, red flag, to seem real. i called the ?issuer of the check and lo and behold, fraudulent!!! fish and scams and while there was no buyer, there was questionable recipients with no legitimate addresses. Altoona, Dallas, and Denver, red flags.
JACK PARK says
just as aside, the FBI does not make phone calls or send emails, they just come to wherever you are and arrest you. so the scam of “this is the FBI calling” just hang up. if they want you, they will come.
What your readers need to be informed of as well is do not trust this situation even if the money clears in 24 hours in your account as the document states.
As a good banking customer ALL of your checks clear in 24 hours. Your bank gives you 24 hour check cashing as a perk for being a good customer. But that check still goes through the regular process of being sent out to the other bank and cashed through their system and that bank sending the money to your bank. So in 3 to 5 days is when they will then take their money back that they gave you in good faith out of your account. And you will be left holding the bag for all the money.
My letter stated they sent a cashiers check. The check they sent is a check that you buy at the store and print your own checks at home for businesses or personal accounts. Go to your bank and asked to see a bank check or a cashiers check and you will see what you have is nothing like what they show you.
Every time you give someone a check you have given them all the information they need to print checks at home with your account. Go to any Staples, Office Depot or BJ’s box club and look in the printer paper section or the business section and you will find print your own checks check paper. Just read the directions… They stay void one of your own checks. Fill in the information off your voided check. Routing number Account number bank fraction code etc. etc. now you’re ready to print checks. And if you’re a bad person you are set up to clean out the bank account of the person who just gave you that check.
With every step forward we take to make things easier there’s always a downfall is that a bad person takes advantage of. It is a shame but if it’s too good to be true it probably is. Ask a lot of questions if anybody’s offering you free or easy money and nine times out of 10 you’ll find out it’s a scam