The Central Hastings OPP are warning residents of a mystery shopper scam that is circulating in the area.
According to police, the scammers use free online classified ad websites, texts, emails or online posts to recruit potential victims to become mystery shoppers.
The scammer then sends a cheque and a letter with shopping tasks to be completed by the target at a particular store.
The victim is told to deposit the cheque and keep a portion of the money as payment. The remaining funds are to be used to send a wire at a money transfer business to test the company’s procedure and customer service skills.
Eventually, the cheque is returned as counterfeit and the victim is accountable to pay for the funds that were wired to the scammer.
To help protect yourself:
•Be mindful where you post your resume; scammers use legitimate websites to seek out victims.
•A legitimate employer will never send funds and request a portion of it back.
•Do your research. A simple search on the internet can save you thousands of dollars.
•If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded contact your local police service or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at www.antifraudcentre.ca