Woman warns others about secret shopper scam

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A Manhattan woman nearly lost thousands of dollars to scammers, and now she wants to warn others so they don’t lose money either.

About a month ago, Joyce White received an unusual email in her inbox. It was an offer to be paid as a secret shopper. She used to work as a mystery shopper doing comparison shopping for a grocery store, so she decided to give it a shot. 

“I told him that I had done a job like that, and I told him I needed extra money and I thought I would try it,” White said.

On Monday she received a check for more than $3,000 in the mail along with instructions on how to spend it. 

“I was to go buy Google Play cards, $500 in value, 3 in each store,” she said.

The instructions said she needed to email back the gift card codes, and she could keep the remaining $471 from the $3,471 check. She thought it was a fishy deal so she took the check to her bank where she found out it was fake. 

“More times than not it’s the story that comes with why they got the check, how they got the check, that is the biggest red flag,” Commerce Bank Market President Shawn Drew said.

He said they see lots of fake checks and he encourages people to be wary of scams.

“Question everything that you get that comes in via email that’s got a request for money,” he said. 

Officer Rachel Pate with the Riley County Police Department said these scammers can be in different states or even different countries, which makes them difficult to catch. 

“A lot of it is just working with the government agencies and trying to get them this information so that we can stop these people from taking out these kind of scams,” she said. 

They refer people to the Internet Crime Complaint Center to report any scams they see. 

Officer Pate encourages people to see scams to also warn their family and friends if they come across a scam. That’s what White wants to do to save others from falling prey to the scam she discovered.

“I don’t want it to happen to somebody else, and I’m glad I was smart enough to get out of it,” she said. 

If you find an offer you think is too good to be true, police encourage you to ask them about it before sending any money. You can also do what White did and check it out with your bank. 
 

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