Laurel police warn of online ‘Secret Shopper’ scam

Laurel police warn of online ‘Secret Shopper’ scam
The Laurel Police Department is warning the public of a recent scam involving online shopping. (Source: Pixabay)

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - The Laurel Police Department is warning the public of a recent scam involving online shopping.

Police Chief Tommy Cox said the scam normally begins with a promotion through e-mail, in which a person is asked to register to become a “mystery shopper” for reputable companies.

Cox said to make the scam believable, the scammer creates a website that appears legitimate for the person to register on. Once the person is registered, they are given a list of businesses to shop at. After completing their tasks, they are asked to submit a report about their experience.

Cox said upon completing the report, the person is sent a cashier’s check in an amount in excess of what their payment for services should be with instructions to cash the check, keep the portion due to them, and use the rest of the money to purchase gift cards, which are asked to be returned to the company electronically.

Cox said a similar method of scamming is used when taking online surveys, in which a person is offered money to take surveys about business.

Cox said the following are signs of the scam:

  • Understand that you should never be charged a fee to register for a “mystery shopper” program
  • You should never be instructed to wire money back to a company
  • If your assignment includes wording such as “Evaluation of a money transfer service”

If you recognize this scam, contact the LPD at (601)-425-4711 or Metro Crime Stoppers (601)-428-7867.

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