You check your email one day and see you have a job offer. You already have a job, but the offer is one that would allow you to pick up a little extra money in your spare time. And the job itself sounds fun—secret shopping. All you need is a bank account. You respond to the email and get a friendly message back welcoming you to the program. You’re told your first assignment will be for a money wiring service. You are told that you will receive a cashier’s check for $4,000. You are to deposit it into your bank account and then wire $3,500 of that money back to the secret shopping service using a local Western Union outlet. The remaining $500 is yours to keep. You are also given a form to fill out about your experience. This is likely the easiest $500 you will ever make.
You follow the instructions you are given and everything works just as you expect, until one day you get a call from your bank telling you that the $4,000 cashier’s check was returned as fraudulent and you are out not only the $4000 for the check that was no good, but also the $3,500 in real money that you wired out. You are now $7,500 in the hole.
Unfortunately, this happens more than you might think. And it’s not just fake secret shopping jobs. Fraudsters have come up with a number of ways to get you to willingly send them money. Here are just a few of them: Continue reading