If your "friend" sends you a suspicious e-mail, realize it may not be your "friend" but rather someone who hacked the e-mail address. Good Job Barry looking into what appeared to be a scam.
On the above date and approximate time, Barry entered police headquarters to report a possible fraud. Barry stated he received an e-mail link from a friend on the website Linked In. He opened the e-mail and was offered a secret shopper job opportunity from Secret Cube Survey LLC. He received follow up text messages from 312-971-6256 and 717-216-4775 confirming that he would be receiving a certified letter in the mail regarding details.
Barry received a certified letter from Miami, FL containing a check from someone in Lowell, MA. The check was for $1,850.30. Barry was told to purchase 3 Walmart Visa Debit Cards after cashing the check. He was then to take photos of the backs of the cards and send the photos back to the phone numbers provided. Barry felt this was strange and researched the company with the Better Business Bureau. He was able to see that this scam has been reported before. Barry confirmed the link did not come from his friend. It appeared the e-mail was sent without his knowledge.
The scam is to have the subject cash the fake check and purchase the Walmart Gift Cards, which have a daily limit of $3,000.00. The subject is to take a photo of the back of the cards, so that the scammer can make purchases with the card online using the Card Security Code. The subject does not receive compensation for the transaction, but completes the scam.
More information about Cube Survey LLC: From the Federal Trade Association
Legitimate mystery shopping opportunities are out there, but so are plenty of scams. If an opportunity is on the up and up, you won't have to pay an application fee or deposit a check and wire money on to
Some retailers hire companies to evaluate the quality of service in their stores; they often use mystery shoppers to get the information. They instruct a mystery shopper to make a particular purchase in a store or restaurant, and then report on the experience. Typically, the shopper is reimbursed and can keep the product or service. Sometimes the shopper receives a small payment, as well.
Many professionals in the field consider mystery shopping a part-time activity, at best. And, they add, opportunities generally are posted online by marketing research or merchandising companies.
Don’t Wire Money
You may have heard about people who are “hired” to be mystery shoppers, and told that their first assignment is to evaluate a money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram. The shopper receives a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account, withdraw the amount in cash, and wire it to a third party. The check is a fake.
By law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. It may seem that the check has cleared and that the money has posted to the account, but when the check turns out to be a fake, the person who deposited the check and wired the money will be responsible for paying back the bank.
It’s never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back.