NY AG Shuts Down "Mystery Shopper" Scam

Sep 21, 2012

New York Attorney General Eric  Schneiderman has announced he has shutdown two websites as part of a “work at home” scam involving a mystery shopper program... more from WAMC's Dave Lucas

The AG says the lured consumers into becoming mystery shoppers to gather information anonymously about the customer service of a particular store, but instead of getting paid, they were duped into paying the scammers thousands of dollars.

The victim was sent a counterfeit check for $2,000 and told to keep $300 as payment. The victim was then instructed to wire the remaining $1,700 to someone overseas and evaluate Western Union employees during the process. After doing so, the victim’s bank identifies the now deposited check as counterfeit and takes $2,000 back out of the victim’s account. Instead of making $300, the victim loses $1,700.

Federal regulations require banks to make deposited funds available to a customer within a specific amount of time - shorter than the time it takes for the bank to determine that a check is forged. The AG says this scheme exploits that delay, and warns that Wired funds typically cannot be recovered or traced.

(c) 2012 WAMC