The Laurel Police Department is warning the public of a scam that’s being attempted in our area. The LPD has received complaints regarding a Secret Shopper/Mystery Shopping scam, Chief Tommy Cox said in a press release.
The scam is generally promoted through e-mails that instruct the recipient to register to become a mystery shopper for reputable companies. The scammers create websites that appear legitimate for the individual to register on, making the scam seem believable.
Once the person is registered, he or she is provided a list of businesses to shop at, and after completing their tasks, instructed to submit a report about the experience. Upon completion of the report, the person is sent a cashier’s check in an amount that is in excess of what their payment for services should be with instructions that they are to cash the check, keep the portion due to them and then use the excess amount to purchase gift cards, which are to be returned to the company by electronic transfer. A similar method of scamming is used in the taking of online surveys, in which the individual is offered payment to take surveys about business in return for payment.
You should never be charged a fee to register for the mystery shopper program and you should never be instructed to wire money back to a company. Those are the tell-tale signs that it’s a scam.
If the assignment includes wording such as “Evaluation of a money transfer service,” it is a scam.
Anyone with information about criminal activity may contact the LPD at 601-399-4440 or Crime Stoppers at 601-428-STOP (7867).