Yes, you read that right. The victim of a mystery shopper scam was arrested and put in jail.
A woman in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota (near Minneapolis) received one of those “be a mystery shopper for us” scam emails promising $300 for a simple mystery shop. After responding, she received a check for $2700, with instructions to cash the check, perform the “mystery shop” and wire most of the money to someone in Africa.
When she went to her bank to cash the check they immediately spotted it as a fake, and called the police. The good news is that she didn’t wire the money to Africa and lose thousands of dollars to scammers. The bad news is that the wanna-be mystery shopper was arrested and spent the night in jail.
Police say they have not decided whether or not they will file charges against her. (My guess is that they will not. It seems pretty likely that she truly was the victim, not the criminal, in this scenario.)
The lesson: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And passing a bad check could land you in jail.
You can see the mystery shopper scam story from CBS-affiliate WCCO at their website.
07/31/09 Update: Same basic story, but this time in Georgia. Another mystery shopping scam victim jailed.
Learn more about mystery shopping scams.