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Local Secret Shopper Scam bags victim

Sedona AZ (February 17, 2018) – Following an email notification, a Prescott, Arizona resident recently received a priority mail envelope with instructions on enrolling in a Secret Shopper program providing undercover mystery surveys of local businesses. Also included in the priority mail envelope was a check for $2,972.00 made out to the recipient.

The sender instructs the recipient (homeowner/you) to cash the check and use a portion of the cash for expenses when conducting the secret business survey. Additionally, a major portion of the money is designated for the purchase of (4) pre-paid credit cards at $650 each, a total of $2,600.

The scam?

The goal of this rip-off is to convince the recipient (homeowner/you) to cash the check and contact the sender as directed for the business “mystery survey” location. At this time, the sender will ask for the pre-paid card numbers so he/she can immediately withdraw the funds.

This scam technique relies on a timeline where the victim follows the directions immediately after depositing the check, and before the bank notifies them the check is fraudulent. By then, the sender has stolen up to $2,600 and the recipient (homeowner/you) is now fully responsible for the original deposit.

Most who receive these notices realize the scam, but there are enough victims in these mass mailings who believe the work is legitimate, and follow through with the instructions. YCSO detectives have been notified in the Prescott, Arizona scam.

The United States Federal Trade Commission offers these tips to help you avoid a “mystery shopper” and other SCAMS:

Do your research. Most legitimate secret shopper jobs are posted online by reputable marketing research or merchandising companies. A quick internet search can help you verify the company’s reputation, legitimacy, or flag any complaints. Scammers like to use the names of well known companies like Home Depot or Walmart to gain your trust.

•Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Wiring money is the same as sending cash because once you send it, you can’t get it back. The same rule is applied for pre-paid cards. Never give the card numbers to someone you don’t know.

Never agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know. If the check turns out to be a fake, it will eventually bounce. And since you are responsible for any deposited checks to your account, you will owe the bank the money you withdrew.

•Never give your personal or financial information out online. Guard your personal information, and treat it as if it were cash. Refrain from entering your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers online or by phone to anyone who gets in touch with you.

See www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0053-mystery-shopper-scams for details.

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260
or the YCSO website at www.ycsoaz.gov.

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1 Comment

  1. Patricia Cortina says:

    It is time that people learn something about common sense.

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