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Scam alert: mystery shopper
by Tribune Staff
Apr 21, 2011 | 752 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARSON CITY — The Nevada Attorney General’s Office is warning that some Nevadans have received letters or emails offering employment as a mystery shopper. Each of these proposals involves wiring money from either Western Union or MoneyGram as part of the “investigation against these companies.” However, the mailer fails to notify the intended victim that persons performing mystery shopper services in Nevada must first obtain a private investigator’s license.

The scam will send a check that appears to be official with instructions that the mystery shopper cash the check and then use most of the proceeds to wire money to a different location. Alternately, the consumer will be instructed to buy one or two small items and then wire the remainder of the money back to the company. Wiring money back to the company that originally provided the cashier’s check is a recurring theme in this scam.

The consumer is instructed to act immediately because the cashier’s check is either stolen or a forgery and will bounce. The scammers want the victim to wire money back to them before the bank and the victim discover the check is a forgery. If the check is cashed, the victim will be required to pay the bank for the money paid on the forged check and any money wired to the company. The “company” is invariably located in another country and funds cannot be retrieved from it.

The Nevada Attorney General warns citizens to never wire money to anyone who is not personally known to the sender. In almost all of the cases referred to the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, the payee listed on the check does not match the name of the so-called lottery, sweepstakes or mystery shopping service.

Before cashing a lottery, sweepstakes or mystery shopper check, call the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 775-684-1169 for information on a possible scam in progress.
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