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 She deposited the check and the money was in her account ready to be withdrawn and wired off, but she was having a bad feeling about it.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 <email@example.com> 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.