Secret shopper's new twist on old scam


If you love to shop 'til you drop and need some cash, be on the lookout for a fake secret shopper offer of big money.

Several Hoosiers are getting emails about becoming a secret shopper with an opportunity to pocket some of the cash. The emails are followed up by a FedEx delivery of a fake cashier's check that looks like the real thing.

Eva Miles of Indianapolis received an email earlier this week and the FedEx delivery the next day. The secret shopper organizer offered Miles money to evaluate her shopping experience at any Walmart and Western Union outlet.

Here is the breakdown of the $3,500 cashier's check she got in the mail. After she deposits the check, Miles gets to keep $350 for participating in the secret shopper program; she must spend $50 at any Walmart and report her shopping experience; then the company asks that she sends a $2,850 by Western Union to another secret shopper awaiting the money.

The $3,500 cashier's check is from Mobil Oil Federal Credit Union in Beaumont, Texas.

When Eyewitness News called the credit union to ask if the cashier's check is legitimate, the customer service representative asked who signed the check. Upon hearing the name, she immediately identified the check as a fake, saying it was the name of the the company's former chief executive officer who has not worked for the credit union in years. She also stated that there are thousands of the fake checks floating around the country.

There are legitimate mystery shopper companies. But the compensation for mystery shoppers only ranges from $20 to about $40 at the most. Mystery shopping does not require deposits and forwarding funds, either.

When it comes to scams like this, the Indiana Attorney General warns if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.