As a reminder, you should never, ever have to cash someone else’s check as part of a mystery shop. In addition, don’t ever pay for mystery shopping programs. You can always refer to my list of mystery shopping companies or check into Volition and other free resources.
While we were down at Tim’s parents’ house this weekend, I discovered a new money scam is out and about. I learned about this because a friend of Tim’s was nearly a victim.
It’s a twist on the Nigerian ruler email. Tim’s friend received a $5,000 check and a letter from a mystery shopping company. Or so the business claimed. It explained that she had been chosen to perform some mystery shopping. It instructed her to deposit the $5,000 in her account. (Of course, it advised her to keep all receipts, and her costs would be reimbursed.) She should then go to a UPS store and wire $1,750 back to the company. She would, naturally, get to keep the remaining $3,250.
This is probably the only time someone was saved by not having a bank account. Instead, she called Tim’s mom, asking about mystery shopping. She was told it was a scam and to leave it alone.
But this by-mail scam isn’t the only new one around. Plenty of folks have been getting recorded messages about money they’re due (or, at least, can get) thanks to Obama’s stimulus package. Plenty of online ads hint around that, too.
Folks always seem to forget the cardinal rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But people insist on believing that there is such a thing as a successful get-rich-quick scheme. I understand that it’s not only greed, but also desperation in times like this. But anyone who would believe that she could get paid $3,250 for a mystery shop is being willfully myopic.
Have you seen any new scams? Have you ever been tricked into something like this?