How To Avoid The Latest Mystery Shopper Scams - Tips From a Former Financial Fraud Detective
If it sounds too good to be true... IT PROBABLY IS!
You receive an official-looking overnight mailer at your office...
Inside there's a cashier's check for $2,950 along with a letter with instructions on what to do in order to complete the transaction. SWEET DEAL, RIGHT?!
The Steve Warneke Show got wind of this exact SCAM that had targeted an older, recently widowed woman in Fort Lauderdale.
Not only did they target a vulnerable person, but these scammers also used a big-time brand name with which to make their hoax seem legit...Whole Foods.
Steve, a former financial fraud detective, had seen this type of hoax before, and worse, saw the harm it could do first-hand to victims.
Having received similar email scams from Apple and Amazon, Steve brought on an expert to help listeners learn the number one way to tell if a mystery shopper deal is fraudulent:
"No legitimate mystery shopping providing organization would send a check in advance to any field evaluator," warned Sam Hersey, President of MSPA Americas, the trade association representing the customer experience industry. Sam Hersey also explained that MSPA membership is a safe marker for those who are interested in mystery shopping experiences.
If you are scammed, start with your financial institution when investigating mystery shopping opportunities and then contacting your local law enforcement agency.
What other steps can you take to report a mystery shopping scam?
File a complaint with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
Forward the scam emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have received a fraudulent letter and cashiers check in the mail, please report it to the USPS as fraud. Visit their website at https://ehome.uspis.gov/fcsexternal/default.aspx.
Report the incident to your State's Attorney General.
File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Moral of the story?
NEVER respond to a letter or attempt to cash a cashier's check. IT'S JUST NOT REAL. And if you can share this story with loved ones, especially single women or the elderly who may be targeted, do so to help protect them from scammers.
If you haven't already, or need more information about how to avoid being scammed listen to the recorded show HERE!
AND IF YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT YOU WANT STEVE TO INVESTIGATE, SUBMIT YOUR STORY HERE!
IF YOU ARE A TRUSTED BUSINESS, APPLY HERE TO BE ON STEVE'S TEAM OF EXPERTS!
Until next time..!
The Steve Warneke Show is LIVE SATURDAYS at 11AM EST to 850 WFTL on your AM station.