Secret Shopper Scam: What to look for and how to avoid it.
Scammers have been looking for trusting targets since there has been money to scam people out of, this is not news. However, there is a new scam out there that has been luring unsuspecting people into unknowingly giving out their bank information. This new scam is called the “Secret Shopper Scam”.
What is the “Secret Shopper Scam”, and how do I know if someone is attempting this on me or my loved ones? The scammers start by sending out fake cashier’s checks from another bank. These cashier’s checks are accompanied by a letter outlining what the victim is supposed to do with the check. The scammer will ask that you purchase gift cards and a cashier’s check for a relatively small amount. They will ask you to make the cashier’s check payable to some organization like “Kidney Foundation”.
This is where they are able to take your information. The scammers will take the account number from the cashier’s check and use that account number to print fraudulent checks to continue the cycle of scamming. If you have received a suspicious check from an unknown sender, it could be a scammer looking for your account information.
You should double-check where the check is coming from. Check to make sure the address and information of the bank on the check exactly match the address and information of the bank. You can search this online or even call the bank itself to confirm. If the letter asks you to buy gift cards, this is also one of the preferred ways for scammers to receive funds. If the letter says anything about “Secret Shopper”, this is more than likely a scam attempt. If you have any doubt if you are being scammed, you can always ask your local banker to help you check if the check or request seems legitimate.
Here is an example of a letter a “Secret Shopper” scammer might send.