Most mystery shopper scams involve the bad guys taking money from innocent victims. This is one with a satisfying twist, though: The bad guys were the ones who got scammed—by the good guys! The Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Department, to be specific.
Investigators sent letters to 6300 fugitives with outstanding warrants. The letters were from the fictitious company “Shoptastic Solutions,” and said that they had been selected to participate in a survey that would help retail stores figure out shoppers’ needs during the holiday season. Just for showing up and taking the survey, the “invited guests” would earn $500.
Well, when the fugitives showed up to collect their $500, they got a trip to jail instead. Sixty-one of the targeted fugitives were arrested, and the sting resulted in a total of 230 arrests. (I guess some of the bad guys brought their bad guy friends along.)
“We tried to tap into people’s Christmas spirit,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said, “then threw a big Grinch on top of it.”
What do we always say about mystery shopper scams? “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” A group of former fugitives in Cook County would probably agree.