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Scam Fleeces Woman of $650, Police Say

Lower Macungie woman thought she was involved in the Secret Shopper program, troopers report. She received a fake money order but sent her own real money in return.

If we say it often enough, perhaps we can take the mystery out of the Mystery Shopper Scam and those like it.

As always, a scam relies on believability and financial inducement.

In a recent incident, a Lower Macungie Township woman was offered the trade of accepting a $930.50 money order in exchange for returning $650 of it via Western Union, according to state police at Fogelsville. That's a profit of $280.50.

Sound good? The Lower Macungie woman thought so.

Police did not detail what additional work Betsy Jean Rothrock of 1236 Eagle St. had to do for the money. Usually it's a matter of offering opinions of products and services following trips to stores.

Rothrock had signed up for a Mystery Shopper program on the Internet, police said. Regardless of what other duties were involved, Rothrock was sent the $930.50 money order on Feb. 6.

She cashed it as instructed, then sent $650 to Jersey City, N.J., police said. Her bank later told her that the money order was fraudulent. She was out the $650.

Mystery Shopper opportunities can be legitimate but would not ask a participant to pay an application fee, deposit a check or wire money, according to the Federal Trade Commission. To better understand a legitimate opportunity from a scam, click on this link.

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