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 Post subject: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:18 pm
Posts: 4
Unbeknownst to me, my 19 year old daughter responded to a "mystery shopper" ad posted on Craigslist. The person that responded to her "application" and told her she was accepted into their program was Brian Somers of Mystery Shopping, Inc.
Her first assignment is to purchase an item costing less than $50 at an area Walmart, fill out an evaluation form regarding Walmart's customer service, keep $200 as her shopping fee, then buy a Moneygram at Walmart or other moneygram outlet with the balance of the money sent to her (also in the form of a Moneygram). They said she would be given the name and address of where to send the "new" moneygram. This is allegedly to test Moneygram's services. It all sounded very shady to me - even more so when she got her packet today.

The packet was express mailed (signature waived) from a residential address in California - not from any kind of business. Inside the envelope was a smaller envelope addressed to my daughter and INSIDE that were TWO moneygrams for $930 each, left blank.

My daughter thinks its legit...I feel it's a scam. Why would they give her TWO money orders, when one would clearly suffice, if not for them to get more money and leave her holding the bag?

My question is what should she do from here? Clearly someone spent $24.97 to mail these money orders to her. Is that just their investment to hopefully recoup $1800? I do not want her to have any part in this, but I also do not want her to be liable for anything. What should we do and who should we report this to?


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:10 am
Posts: 583
This is DEFINITELY a scam! Do not cash them or wire any money to anyone!!! Have your daughter read the posts from the link below:

search.php?keywords=walmart+money+gram&terms=all&author=&sc=1&sf=all&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

There are over three pages of people who were scammed using this very same method... thank goodness you caught this before her life was ruined by these scammers! Look at the checks and call the bank(s) listed on them and let them know what the story is on how you received them and that after coming to our site you believe they may be fraudulent and ask them what they want you to do with them. They may just ask you to destroy them or give you further instructions as what to do next, also this will make them aware that these accounts are now compromised and can block the accounts and notify the account owners.


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:18 pm
Posts: 4
There is no bank to check - they sent her two Money Grams to cash. How do we proceed in that case?


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:10 am
Posts: 583
Make a phone call to the Money Gram at Walmart and let them know what the story is on how you received them and that after coming to our site you believe they may be fraudulent and ask them what they want you to do with them. They will give you further instructions as what to do next.


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:18 pm
Posts: 4
I've read that sometimes the banks and money transfer places will call the police when you come in with the fraudulent money orders - even though you are going to turn them in. I just don't know what to do. And my daughter is scared to death now.


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Site Admin/Co-Founder

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 10:09 pm
Posts: 2921
You are right . . . there are cases where people have been arrested. The safer method would be to CALL to have the money orders verified, but I don't think you need to do that . . . I would bet my life that they are fake. Destroy them.

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Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:10 am
Posts: 583
I agree with Shawn... they are definitely bad money grams... since you have not cashed them there is no reason to worry... if you don't want to get involved with them then you can just destroy them and move on. Also cease all contact with the scammers... they will most likely continue to email you to pressure you to cash them... don't reply just delete them.


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:38 am
Posts: 63
Location: England, UK
damama,

Listen to the advice being given to you by the staff here. I also urge you not to think twice about the illegal nature of those Moneygrams. There is NO JOB that provides a person with a cheque/money order that then asks for it to be cashed and a balance sent somewhere via a cash transfer system. They are ALL scams.

Legitimate Mystery Shoppers do exist, but the money you get is very very small, and I'm talking a few dollars, not hundreds. The scam is identical to an Overpayment Scam and a Company Representative Scam. Cashing a payment and sending a balance elsewhere, as part of an online transaction or job, is 100% guaranteed fraudulent.

If you don't want to hand the 'grams over or call them to verify, for fear of local LEO reprisals, then tear them up and throw them in the trash. Your daughter is not liable for anything, she is a victim of a crime.

References and Further Reading
  • SVU Article - Counterfeit Cashier's Check Scam [link]
  • CCO Article - Secret and Mystery Shopping With A Twist [link]
  • CCO Article - Overpayment Scams [link]
  • CCO Article - Payment Cashing - A Mule Of A Fraud [link]
Alerts and News Items
  • CCO Fraud Alert - IC3.GOV - Mystery / Secret Shopper Schemes [link]
  • CCO News Item - Trail couple victims of “Mystery Shopper” scam [link]
  • CCO News Item - Local Resident Confirms Scam Planned For 'Mystery Shopper' [link]
  • CCO News Item - Police investigate mystery shopper scam [link]
  • CCO News Item - Cheque scam hits home [link]

(Yes, I am very passionate about this type of fraud :) )

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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:08 am 
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Site Admin/Co-Founder

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 10:09 pm
Posts: 2921
Biggles wrote:
(Yes, I am very passionate about this type of fraud :) )


And that is just one of the reasons that we LOVE having you here on our message board! :)

_________________
Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
Sign our petition http://www.change.org/actions/view/crea ... s_programs
Follow our blog http://scamvictimsunited.wordpress.com/
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
_______________________________________________
Has this site helped you?
Buy us a coffee to say thanks ~ http://www.scamvictimsunited.com/donations.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:23 am
Posts: 1
I also received a check in the mail today, not a letter or any other correspondence in the envelope. A check for 2950.00. I researched the company on the check header, unsure what this was about. I had not logged into my email today. I got a text message telling me to check my email, that they sent the package today. So I checked the email and there were the instructions about keeping 400.00 shopping walmart for 50.00 and western union the balance minus the western union charges, along with the details needed to mystery shop. I knew this could not be right. I had planned on calling the company in the am that the check is written on. I am now for SURE this is a Scam and so grateful that this did not go any farther. I am certainly unsure of exactly whom I need to contact now for reporting purposes. When I text that phone number back no response, that was strange. So now I see why. :) :D I did NOT have to fall victim to this!! If anyone can please let me know whom I need to contact to report this please do.


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Is this a mystery shopper scam?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Third Rock from the Sun
Quote:
If anyone can please let me know whom I need to contact to report this please do.


I am so happy you did not get scammed. You may want to call your local police department and ask to speak with someone in the fraud department. If they are like where I live they will take a report. Then if the get several reports they will alert the local medical to put out an alert. Not sure if they will want the check. Also you can file a complaint with the IC3 http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx3. Or you could just shred the check it. If it were me I would call the police and see if they are willing to do anything. Oh, make sure you tell them you are letting them know in case others are getting checks also.

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