Police issue warning about shopper job scam
Victims responded to an online job application.
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 11:52AM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:20PM MDT
Calgary police are investigating a cheque cashing scam that plays on people’s desire to land that dream job.
Investigators say that they have received at least four reports of “mystery shopper” scams and are warning Calgarians to keep an eye out for similar scams.
In each case, the victims responded to an online job ad for a “mystery shopper” and were immediately hired.
They then received a cheque for between $1,000 and $2,000 and were asked to wire the majority of the funds to other individuals to validate the money transfer service. Some were also asked to spend a small portion at retail stores.
Police say that the victims all received additional cheques and assignments, but were soon told by their banks that they were counterfeit.
Police say it is usually very difficult to track down the offenders and in most cases, the money is not recovered.
They warn that victims may spend a substantial amount of money before they are informed of the problem by their bank and to trust your instincts.
Other general Internet safety tips include:
- Be cautious clicking on links in unsolicited emails
- Minimize the amount of personal information in your signature line when communicating with unknown entities
- Never give out your user name or password
- Keep anti-virus and firewall software current
Investigators are warning people to be wary of these types of scams and say that a legitimate business will not offer money to simply cash a cheque as they should be able to do it themselves.
Investigators believe there may be more victims of this, or similar “work at home” scams who may not have reported it to police and are asking anyone who has been victimized by such a scam to call them.
For more information on a variety of scams, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.