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On Your Side: Beware of the secret shopper scam

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 5:56 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It’s an offer to make some quick cash. All you have to do is shop. Not so fast. It’s an On Your Side scam alert.

Kimberly Lentz got a letter in the mail. Along with a $1,400 check. She could use the money.

“I do work more than one job most of the time and I go to college,” she said.

Here’s where it gets fishy. The top of the letter says it’s a Whole Foods Market Customer Service Evaluation Assignment. The bottom lists the instructions: Cash that check. Buy $1,100 in Nike gift cards. Keep the rest as a paycheck. Email photos of the numbers on the back along with answers to a survey.

Lentz called the bank. It’s a bad check. If cashed, she could have lost all that money.

“Even if this check goes through to your bank, and it bounces their bank later, you still have to pay that back,” she said.

If you get money in the mail you were not expecting, chances are it’s a scam.

There are real secret shopper programs. Make sure the company is a member of the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association. You have to seek them out and apply. They don’t send out random checks in the mail.

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