East Texan warns of mystery shopper scam

By LaKecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An e-mail asking for mystery shoppers promises extra cash, but may end up costing you thousands.

One East Texan caught onto the scam before it was too late. Shannon did not want her identity to be completely revealed, but she did want to warn of an e-mail recruiting her and others to be mystery shoppers.

"All I had to send was my name, address, city and state and how old I was and my race," said Shannon.

The sender claimed to be a recruit manager for QuickChoice, saying they would pay Shannon up front.

"It said that I would get $200 for my salary," said Shannon. "Then, they just starting sending me the e-mails saying that I would get my first assignment."

Shannon's first assignment came with what looked like two postal service money orders. She was told to deposit the money orders into her account, then wire money to the sender through Western Union.

"I was really thinking it was real and so I took it to my bank and my bank called it in and they said that it was fake," said Shannon.

"If you can not lay your eyes on somebody, it's easy to get duped by an e-mail," said Sergeant Rob Bowen, a bogus checks and scams investigator with Longview Police. "If people look at that and say, 'Ok, somebody from London is sending me something via Nebraska, who mailed it from Florida [and] now it's coming to me.' These people are making lots and lots of cash. Once these people get the cash in their hand they're good to go and whoever cashes the check is the one whose stuck with a big bill because they got to pay it back."

As for Shannon, she won't be accepting any more mystery shopper jobs anytime soon.

"I don't want people to fall victim to something," said Shannon. "Everybody is not smart enough to realize, you know, when you're desperate and it's money, you'll fake yourself into thinking that it's real and it's not."

Sergeant Bowen says most of the counterfeit check and money orders they've seen, have come from West Africa. He also recommends not taking a job online without being able to sign a contract in person.

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