A dangerous hybrid of secret shopper and phony check scams is showing up in several parts of the country. Already a number of unwary consumers have become ensnared.
Capitalizing on the popularity of "mystery shopping," in which consumers are recruited to monitor the performance of retail businesses, scammers are making big withdrawals from victims bank accounts.
"Secret Shoppers sent me a package by FedEx asking me to do a secret shopping assignment. The assignment was to cash a cashiers check and then send a moneygram from the local Wal-Mart," Mark, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, told ConsumerAffairs.com.
Mark thought he was monitoring MoneyGram's performance, but the scammer, using the name "Secret Shoppers," sent a phony check. Mark, using MoneyGram, wired his own money about $3,000 to the scammer.
After he wired his money, the check from the scammer bounced.
"My wife and I are at a point of financial ruin. We have had to take out a loan to cover the amount of the check," he said.