BBB Says Beware of Mystery Shopping Gigs
CHARLOTTE, NC- Predators are targeting the unemployed and those looking for extra cash.
The Better Business Bureau is getting hundreds of complaints and sending out warnings about mystery shopper offers - The scheme offers lots of money by just going shopping.
LeeAnn Shattuck got an e-mail with a subject line reading “Mystery Shopper Needed In 2012”. It included a company name, job description and payment terms.
"I thought... mystery shopping. That sounds interesting. So, I decided to go ahead and Google this company just to see if they were legit. They are, but they had a warning on their website talking about this scam," said Shattuck.
Shattuck was sent a check for almost $2,800 hundred dollars. She says the scary part is it was certified and looked real.
The check comes with a training assignment, which is a list of instructions telling you to go a McDonalds, Subway or major retail store like Wal-Mart to buy something then fill out a survey and rate the customer service.
The Better Business Bureau has boxes full of these checks and fake job offers.
"I deposit a check for 4,000 dollars. I spent five dollars on my meal. Now, I'm wiring back 3,500 and they say the balance is yours. That's your first weeks pay," said Tom Bartholomy, president & CEO of BBB of Southern Piedmont.
All in 30 minutes or less, but once the money is wired, the initial check bounces and you're out two to four thousand dollars.
"The frustrating part is I've contacted about nine different local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and none of them show any interest in doing anything about it because these criminals are so difficult to track," said Shattuck.
"We haven't seen any successful prosecution of these types of cases unfortunately," said Bartholomew.
So the culprits will keep trying their luck. In Charlotte, close to 100 people have lost thousands of dollars.
Bartholomew says people targeted are being asked to use Western Union and Money Gram wire services.
BBB officials say they are targeting stay-at-home moms, retirees, and the unemployed.
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