You’re hired! That’s more or less what an employment letter claims in this latest version of the classic fake check or money order scam. These scams have also included postal money orders at times. In this latest adaptation, a letter from a legitimate sounding market research company is sent to unsuspecting people claiming to have selected them for a unique employment opportunity. The details of the opportunity to become a customer service evaluator are outlined in the well-crafted job offer, but don’t sign on the dotted line just yet. The prospect of becoming a mystery shopper is actually a scam in disguise and you should become familiar with it to ensure that you and those you know can avoid becoming a victim.
The customer service evaluator position comes with a high hourly rate of pay and a simple probation training assignment. All an individual has to do to pass the training and accept the position is to cash a check or money ordered enclosed in the package of material, wire the bulk of the funds back to the company, and retain the rest for hourly pay, wire fees, and other expenses. The packet also includes an evaluation form for the new evaluator to complete regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of the wire service. There is also a weekly time schedule attached that needs to be filled out to verify what hours the new employee will be available for work.
All of the material added to the packet is designed to emphasize the legitimacy of the program. The congratulatory letter looks authentic. The attached forms appear to support the employment offer well. The enclosed check even looks genuine. Scammers are becoming very sophisticated in their art for one sole purpose – taking what you have and making it theirs.
If you come across an offer that seems too good to be true, don’t let your enthusiasm replace skepticism. Be cautious and examine the offer with piercing scrutiny. Answer the following questions to begin the process of analyzing authenticity:
- Is the offer from a foreign country?
- Is the offer unsolicited?
- Does the offer require you to send money?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, the offer could be a scam. If you ever receive questionable offers like this in the mail, contact the Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 or go to their website at: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.
For more information on this latest mystery shopper scam as well as an actual example, go to: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/radDocs/consumer/MysteryShopperScam2.pdf.