Credit a Lower Macungie woman and her bank for realizing that a "secret shopper" claim had a few more secrets to it than met the eye, according to police.
Wanda Ivette Valle of the 7400 block of Spring Creek Road took a check that she was to be paid to her bank for deposit and was told it was no good, according to state police at Fogelsville. Valle had received a letter and the check in the mail from Survey America to be paid to become a "secret shopper," a program in which -- when legitimate -- undisclosed participants evaluate the goods and services provided by a business and report their findings.
She was sent a check by the company for first assignment, meaning the value and responsibility of guaranteeing the check would be transferred to her. Valle reported the attempted theft by deception at noon Jan. 7, police said.
It was determined that this was a case known as a "Western Union scam," police said, or variously known as a "Mystery Shopper scam" or "Secret Shopper scam." In these instances, money is paid to the company or person initiating the scam while the victim evaluates or is delayed in receiving payment.