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Don’t Fall for the Secret Shopper Scam

Mystery Shopper

What would you do if you received a priority mail envelope with a check inside in the amount of $1,968? The check looks authentic as it was issued through J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. It also has the necessary and appropriate watermarks that lead you to believe it is a legitimate check. Why would we suddenly receive a check in the amount of $1,968 from a company called Switchcraft?

Having inspected the check we looked into the Priority Mail envelope to find that the check was accompanied by a letter. The letter, unlike the check, did not look legitimate. It had no letterhead, no signature and wasn’t written by a business professional (or a person that has mastered the English language for that matter). The letter contained instructions about a Wal-Mart mystery shopper assignment. No matter how authentic the check looked, the letter itself screamed scam.

Just so you can see how authentic the check looked, below is a copy of the check. Of course, I crossed out the name and address.

Scam Check Front

Now, by contrast, here’s the letter:

Secret Shopper Scam Letter

What to Do with the Scam

Just for grins, I sent an email to the person Rich Hossi. Since he gave two email addresses I decided to write to one and carbon copy the other one.

Below is the content of the email I sent him. To date, I’ve had no response.

Good Day Rich Hossi,

Thank you for the check #02642434 in the amount of $1968.00 along with the Wal-Mart mystery shopper information.

I have forwarded the letter, check and priority mail envelope to the Attorney General’s office for my state. If they give me the go ahead and approve the documentation as legitimate, I will then follow your instructions. In the meanwhile, I await instructions from the Attorney General’s Office.

I will contact you if I require further information.

Amateur Internet Sleuth

As far as the person Derrick Lee Mosby in Sacramento Ca, the person to whom I should send $1,680 by Western Union, I did an Internet search and found one Derrick Lee Mosby in Sacramento. I’m not so sure if this is the same guy, but the Mr. Mosby I found is a military professional. He didn’t sound like someone who would get involved with such a scam.

What about Switchcraft?

I did a little research on the company Switchcraft, and found that they have nothing to do with mystery shopping.

“Switchcraft is a leading supplier of a broad line of components for the audio, video, telecommunication, computer, medical, military, appliance, transportation and instrumentation industries.” Taken directly from their website.

Finally, I decided to check the US Post Office tracking number. I’m not sure where the package originated because the earliest information I can get from the USPS site is listed below:

November 25, 2014, 6:18 am Departed USPS Facility SHREVEPORT, LA 71102
November 24, 2014, 11:50 pm Arrived at USPS Facility SHREVEPORT, LA 71102
November 20, 2014, Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS

It shows Pre-Shipment info sent to USPS on 11/20/14 and then the next entry was on November 24th when the package arrived in Shreveport, LA. This person spent $17.40 on postage to send this piece of scam to our house.

Scams Around the Internet

I did some reading and found that many unsuspecting individuals fell for this scam. One unfortunate individual not only had to reimburse the bank for the fake check, but the scammers got a hold of his personal information and were able to scam file his taxes. The government ended up sending this poor gentleman’s refund to the scammers.  He didn’t know his taxes were scam filed until he went to file his own taxes.

If it seems too good to be true, it is! For the promise of $1,968 we could have lost a fortune!

About the author: Felicia A. Williams is a former insurance broker who is now a freelance writer.

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