The Mississippi Attorney General's Office cautions consumers to be wary of responding to ads and mailings for jobs as 'mystery shoppers' or customer service evaluators. Attorney general Jim Hood says many of these advertisements are scams.
When the consumers contact the company about the position, the consumers are told they can earn money by purchasing items at different stores, dining at different restaurants or by evaluating a store’s service. The company then sends an employment packet, which includes business evaluation forms and a cashier’s check.
Consumers are instructed to cash the check, pose as a customer, and wire the money to an address in Canada. The scam is that the check is fake.
The check bounces after the person wires the money, leaving the person responsible for the fake check.
Many times, scammers use a legitimate company’s name on the mailing or advertisement to make the consumer think everything is legal.
Just recently, the Attorney General’s Office received a copy of such a scam mailing. The name of a valid mystery shopping company, National Shopping Service, was fraudulently placed on a mailing. When contacted by the Consumer Protection Division of Attorney General’s Office, a representative from National Shopping Service confirmed that the company is aware of these mailings and has been actively working with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association to help combat this type activity.
The Attorney General’s Office urges consumers to be skeptical of any mystery/secret shopper or customer service evaluator solicitation that:
* Appears in a newspaper's classified or "help wanted" section or through unsolicited email. Legitimate secret shopper companies generally do not advertise for jobs in this manner.
* "Guarantees" a job as a mystery/secret shopper or as a customer service evaluator.
* Charges a fee for applying or for access to secret shopping job opportunities. You should not pay any fee to apply or to obtain job information.
* Appears to be located in places outside the country, such as Canada.
* Gives you money and then asks for you to wire all of it or a portion of it back to a third party. There is usually no legitimate reason for such a request. Don’t do it.
Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of this scam or any other, should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-281-4418.