Here’s a quick summary of the Mystery Shopper Scam, courtesy of the FBI, as they warn Dayton-area residents of the potential dangers. A snippet:
In other versions of mystery shopper scams reported to IC3, victims were contacted via e-mail and U.S. mail to apply to be a mystery shopper. Applicants were asked to send resumes and were told an extensive background check would be performed before they could be hired as a mystery shopper. The mystery shoppers were then instructed to deposit a check, not knowing that it was counterfeit. A portion of the check was to be sent back to the “employer” while the mystery shopper was allowed to keep a designated amount as their payment. While banks are required by law to make the funds from deposited checks available within days, determining a check is fraudulent can take weeks. If a check—such as those commonly used in these types of schemes—turns out to be phony, the depositor/victim is responsible for the funds and must reimburse the bank.
We’ve talked about this scam before, so it’s not surprising to see plenty of similarities between the FBI writeup and exactly what I experienced.
Best advice, verbatim from the FBI post: “It is never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you do not know—especially if the stranger is asking you to wire money.“