Have you been contacted via text message, email, or letter, with an invitation to participate in a research project as a secret shopper, and without the need for an interview, as you’re deemed the perfect fit for the role? Beware, as this could be a scam.
Typically, scammers will send a check that exceeds the value of the items you’re instructed to buy, with the remaining balance as a bonus for you to keep. You’ll be asked to deposit the check, buy gift cards, and provide the scammer with the gift card numbers and pins. However, the check is fraudulent, and it will take a few days to clear. Meanwhile, you’ll have already made purchases out of your own account. When you discover that the check is fake three or four days later, you’ll have already sent the gift cards to the scammer.
Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry advises Pennsylvanians to be aware of these scams and report suspicious emails, calls, or texts to the Office to protect themselves, their money, and their personal information.
To spot this scam, look out for a job listing or unsolicited communication that promises you will make a lot of money as a secret shopper or requires you to pay upfront to get started. Additionally, be cautious if an “employer” sends you a check or money order and instructs you to deposit it in your account and return a portion to the sender.
If you believe you have been targeted by this scam or any similar scams, contact the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection through their website, email, or phone number at 1-800-441-2555.