Con artists taking your secret shopper money

New York, NY (CBS News) -- An old scam is making a comeback. The Better Business Bureau is warning Americans about the return of the secret shopper scam.

Michelle Falco was excited when she got a letter in the mail asking her to be a secret shopper.

"I thought it would be cool -- you get to shop keep your product and make money."

The letter claiming to be from the Home Depot came with a check for almost $1,500. All she had to do was deposit the check and start shopping at Home Depot's competitors.

"And then I was supposed to do a survey on the customer service."

After the Michelle was supposed to return any money she didn't use, but it turns out it was all a scam.

Here's how it works: When a scam victim deposits the fake certified check the bank gives them the funds up front even though the check has yet to clear. The victim uses the money to shop and then wires what's left over to the con artists.

"They'll end up wiring the rest of the money to a different country."

Days or even weeks later, the bank finds out the check is a fake. Once they do, the victim is on the hook for $1,500 and has to pay the bank back.

The Better Business Bureau and major retailers, including Home Depot, warn customers about secret shopper scams.

"I'm struggling right now financially and I'm like -- this can't be real."

Michelle's instincts were right -- she never deposited the check. Instead, she asked her bank to look into it and they confirmed it was fake. Now she wants to make sure other people don't fall victim to the scam.

The Home Depot encourages customers to call and verify any job offers they receive that use the Home Depot name.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment