It’s called the “mystery shopper” scam, and this time, it’s coming in the form of a $2,000 check, that looks as real as it can get.
“Nobody sends you money for nothing,” said scam victim Grace Maiwndi.
Grace Maiwndi was smart enough to realize that something just wasn’t right with this check, made out to her for almost $2,000.
“Buyer beware, no one sends you a $1,900 check and then asks to you to send $1,600 to someone you don’t even know in Chicago,” Maiwndi said.
Monday, Grace opened up what looked like a notice about mental health care, sealed in Canada. Inside was a check and instructions on how to spend it.
At first it seemed like a gift from above, but at second glance grace noticed the bank was in Maryland, and the sender, out of Staten Island, New York, asked her to make a purchase at various stores and then wire the money back via Western Union to a receiving officer in Chicago.
Grace admits, at first, she was fooled. “But the check is something that people should be aware of, it is the most legitimate check I have ever seen.”
Fraud attorney Mitch Baker said, “You have to read it. They’ll want your information. They’ll want you to give them your numbers, your credit card number, and they’ll end up with the money, not you.”
This scam is nothing new to law enforcement and the Postal Inspection Service. They call it the “mystery shopper” scheme, and it hasn’t just fooled Grace; chances are thousands of people have tried to cash in on the deal that just looks so good on paper.
The Postal Inspection Service says if you get something in the mail that fits any of these descriptions, do not respond to it. If you deposit the check, you’ll get a notice from the bank that it bounced, and you’ll be responsible for paying for the amount of the check out of your own pocket.