Paid to shop? Beware of those ads promising big bucks for being a mystery shopper - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Text Description

Paid to shop? Beware of those ads promising big bucks for being a mystery shopper

Posted: Updated:

Counterfeit money orders are at the heart of this scam.

It starts with victims responding to a job ad that says: 'Receive money orders like these in the mail - then go shopping.'

"They would go to Wal-Mart, make purchases, rate their service they received at Wal-Mart, then they would go back to Western Union and mail back the remaining money to suspect," says U.S. Postal Inspector David Nitz.

After following those instructions, the victims would get a surprise.  Nitz says the money orders they deposited into their bank accounts were counterfeit and they would be in a situation to repay that to the bank.

Postal inspectors were tipped off to one recent case after customs intercepted a package containing $400-thousand dollars worth of counterfeit money orders.

"After making contact with this suspect did a search of her home and found $300-thousand dollars worth of money orders," says Nitz.

In this specific scheme – there were 750 victims and more than $300,000 in losses.

Inspectors say the scam is on the rise and targeting vulnerable victims.

"A lot of victims are already in financial distress. To get involved in something like this just compounds the problem," says Nitz.

Some simple advice: "Don't get involved in something that was unsolicited. Somebody sends you money orders or checks and you don't personally know them or haven't been personally doing business with them you shouldn't be cashing those checks," says Nitz.

Postal inspectors say if you ever want to verify if a money order is "real" you can take it to a post office, employees have been trained to detect counterfeits.

Also, call the Better Business Bureau to check out any business that tries to solicit you. And never send money back to anyone who sends you a check or money order unless you know exactly who they are and you're certain they are legitimate.

Sarah Panko

Sarah is the anchor/ producer for News Three First Edition at 5/4 central time. She also brings you the latest Consumer Reports on the Nightwatch at 11/10 central. More>>

  • Consumer WatchMore>>

  • Home Depot security breach may reach farther than direct customers

    Home Depot security breach may reach farther than direct customers

    Monday, September 15 2014 4:52 PM EDT2014-09-15 20:52:12 GMT
    Child Support debit card issued by Georgia may be impacted by Home Depot breachChild Support debit card issued by Georgia may be impacted by Home Depot breach
    One man claims his family is seeing the side effects of Home Depot's security breach without even shopping at the store.
    One man claims his family is seeing the side effects of Home Depot's security breach without even shopping at the store.
  • 1.2 million smoke and combo carbon monoxide alarms recalled due to failure

    1.2 million smoke and combo carbon monoxide alarms recalled due to failure

    Thursday, September 11 2014 8:50 PM EDT2014-09-12 00:50:51 GMT
    Kidde is recalling about 1.2 million hard-wired smoke and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. The company says the alarms could fail to alert consumers of a fire or a CO incident following a power outage. No injuries have been reported.Consumers should immediately contact Kidde for a free replacement smoke or combination smoke/CO alarm. Consumers should keep using the recalled alarms until they install replaceme...
    Kidde is recalling about 1.2 million hard-wired smoke and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. The company says the alarms could fail to alert consumers of a fire or a CO incident following a power outage. No injuries have been reported.Consumers should immediately contact Kidde for a free replacement smoke or combination smoke/CO alarm. Consumers should keep using the recalled alarms until they install replaceme...
  • Uptown Columbus zipline to open Saturday

    Uptown Columbus zipline to open Saturday

    Thursday, September 11 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-09-11 20:58:19 GMT
    The Uptown Columbus Zipline and Blue Heron Adventure course is set to open Saturday.The Uptown Columbus Zipline and Blue Heron Adventure course is set to open Saturday.
    Prices have been announced ahead of Saturday's anticipated opening of the Uptown Columbus zipline and Blue Heron Adventure course.
    Prices have been announced ahead of Saturday's anticipated opening of the Uptown Columbus zipline and Blue Heron Adventure course.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.