Consumer group warning people about secret shopper scam

Consumer group warning people about secret shopper scam
Secret shopper scam (Source: WBRC Fox6 News)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s an old scheme making a return.

People are being contacted and asked to become a secret shopper to test out companies. Instead they end up losing money.

“Secret shopper scam has been going on for some time. They have come back to be popular among scammers," said David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau of Central Alabama.

This is how the secret shopper scheme works. You are contacted by a group asking to you take part as a secret shopper. You probably don’t even remember applying for the job.

They send a check to you to deposit into your bank. Then they ask you to withdraw funds to buy Walmart gift cards to test Walmart or to send money through Western Union to test Western Union.

“At the end of the day the check bounces and you are out all this money you just sent them as a secret shopper,” Smitherman said.

So what should a consumer be on the lookout for to be sure they are not a victim.

“Poor grammar, they are texting your - writing you in a letter. Fake checks it’s difficult to tell. You literally have to wait for it to clear the bank,” Smitherman said.

If it’s too good to be true it is.

“I mean all of these things sound a little wacky. You really need to stop and think, does this make sense or is this a scam,” Smitherman said.

If you have any questions contact the BBB at www.bbb.org/scamtracker or Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.

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