Bogus secret shopper checks arriving in mail

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - While some mystery shopper offers are legitimate, the ones that sound too good to be true usually are.

Kenneth Carter says the packet he received in the mail just didn't look right.

"Automatically, I had doubts about it," Carter said.

Carter said the first thing he did was take the postal money order to the post office to see if it was real.

"Why is somebody going to send me $870 for nothing?", Carter asked.

The employment packet instructed Carter to cash the money order and take $120 commission and send the remaining $750 to a woman in the Phillipines via Western Union.

The money orders are fake so when the check bounces, the consumer is held accountable for the entire amount.

"If you know what to look for, it's very easy to spot them," said Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau.

The Better Business Bureau says while it fields a lot of calls from consumers, these cases are often difficult to track because the addresses are usually bogus.

"They move around. They change names. The only thing that they seem to have in common is that they are outside the U.S.," said Russo.

Carter's packet was postmarked Fort Worth but the introductory letter had a New York address and two phone numbers. Local 2 called both but didn't get through to anyone. Carter said he's grateful he didn't have to learn a lesson the hard way.

"Just beware. Anything you get in the mail that you aren't sure of, don't go cash it. It can get you in a lot of trouble," Carter said.


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