Archive for Friday, August 13, 2010

Kansas Attorney General’s Office warns residents about Mystery Shopper/Western Union scam

August 13, 2010


It’s a common mail scam in Kansas and across the country, and the Kansas Attorney General’s Office is warning consumers after at least one Lawrence resident recently reported the scam.

Myra Strother of Lawrence recently received a $3,500 check in the mail, accompanied with a letter saying she had been selected to be a mystery shopper. The letter instructed Strother to wire money through Western Union. After evaluating the service at the business, she’d be able to keep the $3,500 check.

Strother called the scam into the Attorney General’s Office, hoping to warn consumers. Gavin Young, communications director for the Attorney General’s Office, said some consumers aren’t as savvy as Strother and actually go through with the scam, losing hundreds and sometimes thousands in the process.

“It’s one of the most common scams,” he said, as his office receives frequent calls about situations with slightly varying details. “It’s a running theme.”

Young said consumers should be wary of any instances where they’re asked to put up their own money, or in cases where money is wired through Western Union.

“There is no bigger red flag,” he said.

To report scams, call the Kansas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 785-296-3751.


May Soo 7 years, 5 months ago

To report internet scams, file a report at

Cynthia Schott 7 years, 5 months ago

Okay, here ya go. I just got mine this morning. They need an editor seriously.

Re: please check attached file for offer ... From:
steve ... To:

mystery shopper.rtf (1KB) There is a Mystery Shopping survey in your area that we will like for you to enroll in.Please let us know if you are interested.You can make a minimum of 200$ in a day or more.Please provide the foloowing below. Full Name: Address (Not P.O Box): Contact cell phone & land phone:

50YearResident 7 years, 5 months ago

Where does the "send money" part come into the notice? Why would anyone send money immediately to any correspondense? Oh, I forgot, a new sucker is born every day. edit. (now every second)

somebodynew 7 years, 5 months ago

50 year - where the money part comes is that after you "sign up" they will send you a check. Always for more than what you "earn" and you have to send the rest back (or to someone else). A few weeks after you do this, your bank notifys you the original check was bogus and YOU are now on the hook for the entire amount.

An easy example: They send you a check for $1200 and you are to earn $1000 if you fulfill your duties. You deposit the check and maybe wait 3-5 days. The rest you are to send by Western Union to someone else. A couple of weeks later, your bank says the original check was bogus (even tho it looked legit) and therefore you are responsible for the entire $1200.

The other variation to this is if you are selling or renting something that is advertised. A person contacts you and agrees to rent/buy and sends you a check for more than the amound with instructions to forward the extra to their "agent" or "delivery service". Eventually that first check is found to be bogus and you are on the hook.

Believe it or not, but these schemes actually work a fair percentage of the times. Oh, and the money pretty much disappears to someone overseas.

50YearResident 7 years, 5 months ago

I think it would be fun to take the check, write "Void" on it, tape to your monitor and leave it there. Wait until the sender asks you where the the forwarded money is or why yau have not sent it yet. Then tell him you sent it by Western Union just like the instructions said and you actually sent an extra $500. Then see what happens.

Cynthia Schott 7 years, 5 months ago

YOUR ATM Cash Card Payment Notification NOW READY ... From:

this is official.html (4KB) view your attached contract inheritance

Sharon Roullins 7 years, 5 months ago

Okay, so I got a check ($2500) from a company last October. The letterhead originated out of New York. By the way the number was answered by a recorded message. The check was written on an account in Hawaii, the person that signed the check didn't match anyone's name on the check oh and if it was supposedly signed by the person issuing the check, he clearly forgot whose name he was using that day. Yeah, I knew it was a fake/scam the minute I opened the envelope. The people that pull these scams have much confidence in the people they are scamming, because they expect you to cash a $2500 check and send them $1500. I don't think so.

May Soo 7 years, 5 months ago

I got a check here from one of those people who scams you in hoping you fall for it. Sad someone who has nothing better to do.

CoryJ 7 years, 5 months ago

As an owner of a mystery shopping company, I am glad to see an article to help try and protect people.

Unfortunately, these scams are all too common but it is very important to note, the scammers do not always use mystery shopping companies for their "front." We recently heard of a similar scam wiith a check coming from Cracker Barrel!

It is more accurate to refer to it as a fake check scam. Anytime you receive a that you weren't expecting, from someone you do not know, and asking you to wire money to somewhere else, for any reason, it is a scam.

Also, even if this example is obviously fake and poorly written, some are very well done. We had a scammer use our name a few years ago. We decided to call them acting as a potential victim (and recording all the calls) to learn about their techniques and try to catch them. The scammers were very well versed and, if we did not know better, we would have thought they were a real business. Unfortunately, 10 people did believe it was a real offer. They lost about $2,500 each.

As a result, we quickly put a page on our website showing what a scam can look like and providing infromation on what you can do. The page can be found here:

We were also able to ensure many more did not become victims of the scam. We fielded dozens of calls from people skeptical enough to search for our real phone number and call there before cashing and sending the check.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely, Cory Jensen, Owner I-Spy Mystery Shoppers Omaha, NE

amesn 7 years, 5 months ago

I also refuse to use craigslist to buy or sell anything now. We attempted to sell a wire welder on there about a year ago and had someone offer us more money than we were asking for it (huge red flag) and then tell us that a check would be sent in a few days via fed ex. My husband being slightly naive at times did provide our P.O. Box so the chk could b mailed (at least it wasn't our physical address) and when it arrived we contacted the bank of which the chk was supposedly written from. The bank informed us that the account number was for an auto dealership in California that had closed the account down months ago. What these creeps were achieving with some gullible folks was sending them the bad chk and then the sellers would ship the merchandise of which the criminals would sell for whatever amount making a complete profit since they never actually paid for the product. What information I did have from the email exchange and the mailed chk was turned over to the police dept there. My second craigslist situation was when we were looking for a used car to have as back up and found a 2003 Honda for $1200 advertised as being in N. KC. Once the seller finally contacted us via email the person stated he was active military and had recently gone through a divorce and the car was his wife's and he just wanted to be done with it. He went on to say that the car had been garaged in Illinois somewhere and that all he needed was the money for shipping cost and the car would be shipped to our residence and then we could inspect the car and either buy it or send it back and he would refund all shipping costs to us. Ha ha nice try dude! Good rule of thumb, anything that requests YOU send money to them FIRST before you get the promised hundreds or thousands, send it through the shredder!

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