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"Secret Shopper" email scams

by Michael J. Redenburg on Jul. 09, 2010

Criminal Criminal  Felony 

Summary: Fraud alert - "Secret Shopper" email solicitations inviting recipient to "observe and comment" on an experience at a retailer or store front service provider, such as Western Union.

Secret shopper or mystery shopper scams usually begin when the recipient gets an email from a sender they do not recognize, which includes an offer to make "quick cash." The scheme often goes something like this - the sender will mail you a check; you cash it; keep some amount as a "fee for your services" and wire the balance of the money to them. Or, they may tell you to "go shopping" with the money after you cash the check, observe the store personnel while making the purchase, and send them a "report" of the store personnel's performance and attitudes.

Some time soon thereafter, the bank determines that the check is fraudulent and you may be arrested, or sought by police or detectives for questioning. You should never talk to the police without an experienced criminal defense attorney with you.

Because these scams have become so common and rampant as of late, I have recently represented many individuals who have unknowingly been victimized by this type of scam. I was recently successful in having a young woman's case COMPLETELY DISMISSED where she was charged with a Class D Felony and faced up to 7 years in prison related to an alleged financial fraud scam.

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