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.