Have you received an email that offers you a unique opportunity to become a mystery shopper? If so, you should know that you might be dealing with a clever scheme that’s designed to lure you into becoming a money mule for fraudsters.
Two mystery shopper email scams have been identified by the folks from Hoax Slayer
. One pretends to come from Shopper’s Guide and the second one from “Wal-Mart.”
Both of them are offering the recipient the chance to run surveys on various companies in return for a hard-to-turn-down amount of money.
The “Wal-Mart” email looks something like this:
We are accepting applications from qualified individuals from all-over the world to become Secret-Shopper. There is no charge to become a shopper and you do not need previous experience.
After you sign up, you will have access to training materials from us. Should you interested, your wages would be US $3000 per assignment. No commitment is made on this job and you would have flexible hours.
At least 2 evaluations a week will be assigned to you because this is a part time job and we think this job suits you. We will provide you the money for all of your evaluations.
Money order/Payment check would be in a certain amount which you would be required to Cash at your Bank, then deduct your salary and have the rest used for the evaluation at the store that would be given to you for evaluations.
The second one is more sophisticated, but it also sheds some light on how the crooks may be operating. Here’s what a “secret shopper” who is reporting on a restaurant and a Western Union location must do, according to the emails:
1) To make a transfer of funds from this western union location to another Mystery shopper, and the funds would be picked up by the mystery shopper at the exact location Which a customer reported her funds missing.
2) You would have to record the time at which you go to the location and how many minutes it took you to get service.
3) You would be sent a check/Money order which would cover your payment of $200 and also for the duty. As soon as you receive the check/money order, you would cash in at your bank, and deduct your $200.00, and use the balance of the money for the services.
4) Upon receiving the funds, the locations address would be forwarded to you, and also the Name and address of whom the Mystery shoppers transfer would be made to. You would have to keep a comprehensive report on every activity you carry out.
5) You would also provide me with the name of the cashier that attended to you. Please, confirm to me that you did received this message so that the check/Moneyorder can be sent out to you ASAP.
In both cases, the potential victim is requested to provide personal details before being enrolled in the program.
Both schemes are so cleverly designed, that almost anyone can unwittingly end up being part of a money-laundering scheme.
As we have mentioned on numerous occasions before, internauts must be wary of such offers because they risk becoming entangled in a criminal ring and being prosecuted just like a common fraudster when authorities bust the scheme.