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Rip-Off Alert: Don't get caught in mystery shopper scam

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 7/24/2013 6:06 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- The flexibility of working from home is very appealing for many Americans trying to make ends meet. However, proceed with caution. In this Rip-Off Alert, a number of these jobs found online are nothing more than a scam.

Nearly $750,000 of fake postal money orders were put in express mail envelopes and sent across the country to hundreds of people.

“I knew someone had been mailing hundreds of pieces over a year,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Bob Schmidt. “On a certain Saturday, 150 went out from six different post offices about 25 each one.”

Once postal inspectors confirmed who was sending all of these packages, they confronted the woman.

“She couldn’t believe it at first, she wanted to help right away, offered email phone numbers whatever I wanted to help catch the guy,” Schmidt said.

She said the checks and instructions on what to do came from West Africa.

“These people are usually victims themselves,” Schmidt said. “They’ve gone online to look for a job to do from home – they get contacted by the scammers.”

She didn’t realize the checks were bad or that she was doing anything wrong. The con artists promised her up to $200 an hour.

Inspectors say be wary of these promises.

“No company is going to pay that much money to have somebody stuff envelopes and ship them out,” Schmidt said. “Be wary of anything online, really. They can really disguise themselves; they could say they are whoever they want to be.”

In a mystery shopper scam, the goal is to get the victims to deposit the checks, buy something small while shopping and return the remains of the check to the company before the bank realizes the checks were counterfeit.


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