Community News

Monday, February 11, 2013

Beware of mystery shopper scam

Every year, hundreds of unsuspecting Canadians become victims of mystery shopper scams.
The scam works when people receive a legitimate-looking cheque from a legitimate company and are asked to conduct mystery shopping excursions to specific stores to purchase specific items. Once done, they are asked to rate a money transfer company by wiring the difference, usually in the thousands of dollars, back to the fraudsters. The mystery shoppers get to keep a few hundred dollars and whatever they purchased.
By the time the cheque is discovered to be fraudulent, which it will be, the criminals have their wired money and the victim is left holding the bag for the entire amount.
Does it sound like a scam? Yes.
Does it sound too good to be true? Yes.
Do people fall for it anyway? Yes.
Any proposition that includes the wiring of any amount of money to someone you’ve never met is almost certainly a scam. If you receive such a proposition, steer clear of it and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
If you still think it’s legitimate, thoroughly investigate the company whose name is on the cheque, starting by Googling the company and phoning it (not the mystery shopping contact) to ask about the proposition. Your due diligence will save you money and heartache.

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