Ever heard of a mystery or secret shopper? They're people paid to pretend to shop at a store, and then report back on its customer service to the company.
But now scammers are making money off the idea.
One Michiana man turned in something he found suspicious to the BBB of Northern Indiana. He received two of the same scams nearly back-to-back.
When he opened up the official-looking envelope, there was a money order inside. The directions told him to go the bank and cash it.
He was supposed to take out $150 as part of his payment for being a secret shopper of the bank, and then go to Western Union and wire the difference, which in one case would have been more than $800.
The catch is, it's a bad money order.
But if a person falls for it, the scam artist already has their cash by the time the victim finds out the check has bounced.
“This can't be real why would somebody that doesn't know me at all, send me a money order for $975, what would keep me, what keeps me from cashing this and forget the mystery shopping,” says Dreama Jensen of the BBB OF Northern Indiana. “I have no obligation so the thing is to be cautious of number one if you even get a money order, check and it not anything you are expecting you don't know them, from Adam, you don't Adam, its going to be fake, it's going to be fake.”
In most cases the BBB says these scam artists aren't traceable. The money that's sent to them is forwarded to P.O. boxes they've set-up. It might trace back a fake address, and a vague name.