Beware of the "Mystery Shopper" scam

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- You receive a check in the mail that LOOKS legit. All you have to do is accept a job offer. Why wouldn't you do it? FOX6's Katrina Cravy says: Think twice!

When money orders, sometimes for hundreds of dollars, arrived in the mail, some thought it was their lucky day.


The money orders are part of what's called the "Mystery Shopper" scam.

"Oftentimes they viewed it as a way to work without leaving the home and make money. All they have to do is go to the store," a U.S. Postal Inspector said.

Here's how the scam works: Con artists send money orders or checks to victims they lure in online.

"Any time you`re receiving checks or money orders in the mail red flags should go up," a U.S. Postal Inspector said.

Victims deposit the money order, do some shopping, as instructed, complete a survey, and then send back a portion of the money deposited.

The problem is, the money orders or checks are fraudulent, and victims are responsible for all of the money deposited.

"I haven`t seen one of these things where someone actually makes money," a U.S. Postal Inspector said.

Postal inspectors say there are ways to determine if a money order is fake.

"If you look at it, it has a Benjamin Franklin watermark. If you put it up to the light, you can see that. If you hold them up to the light, that is how you see it. If you put the money on the ground and Benjamin Franklin is looking back at you, it`s fraudulent," a U.S. Postal Inspector said.

Postal inspector say work-at-home schemes have become more prevalent, but are rarely legitimate.