State consumer protection officials are seeing an uptick of a scam falsely offering payment for an unusual job, and are warning about phony email ads looking to hire mystery shoppers.
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection administrator Frank Frassetto says it’s a job people know about, but may not understand. “Mystery shoppers are basically who go anonymously into a store and search for products and report back n the customer service, just really the whole experience.” He says that there are legitimate companies that run these services and that they aren’t going to try to hire you out of the blue over email.
Frassetto says the scam is commonly a check fraud, where the scammers ask you to cash a check, take out the money you want, and wire the rest to them. Frassetto says one victim was scammed out of $1000. “They were told that they’ll be sent a check and what they had to do is cash the check, take out the amount of money that they would be paid, and then wire the rest of the money back to the scammers.” That complaint was one of dozens of calls to the state’s consumer protection tip line.
If you are looking for work as a mystery shopper, remember that most of these positions are part-time jobs and you are not going to be asked to pay money to be considered for a position. Avoid the common scams like wiring people money out of the blue or cashing checks and wiring money. If you are looking to do work, make sure to take the time to do your research online and find a reputable company.