Trail couple victims of “Mystery Shopper” scam

A Trail couple is out $3,820 after participating in a “mystery shopper” job, only to find out it was a scam.

The couple learned about the opportunity online.  They received a series of money orders from the company and were directed to deposit them into their own bank account, use that money to purchase certain goods at a local retailer, and complete an evaluation regarding the transaction.  They were to wire the remaining money back to the company via Western Union, then email the routing number of the transaction to the mystery shopper company to verify the transaction was completed.  The couple was instructed to keep a couple hundred dollars as payment for a job well done.

About a week later, their bank told the couple the money orders they had deposited into their account were forged.  That means the couple is now responsible for repaying the bank the almost four thousand dollars they wired to the scammers.     Money order and mystery shopper scams are among the most common online scams reported.  Several people in Shady Cove and in other Southern Oregon jurisdictions have lost money to them in recent years.  The wired funds are quickly diverted to suspects outside the United States, making it virtually impossible for local law enforcement agencies to investigate.

Police once again remind people to be extra vigilant with their money and use caution when asked to participate in employment opportunities online or by mail.  The vast majority of them are scams.    

For more information about common scams, or to report online crimes, visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

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