Being Wary of a Secret Shopper Scam

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- You may find a letter in your mailbox, telling you you've won a gift card, or it may be an e-mail telling you you've been hired as a secret shopper; however, don't buy it because you could be the one who has to pay.

Robert Hockman received a postcard in the mail telling him of his good fortune.

Part of it read, "A hundred dollars in gift savings good at major retailers like Walmart, Target and many more"

Hockman called the number, but realized it was a scam once they asked for his bank account number.

"I wouldn't do it. I knew better," said Hockman.

That's just the latest in scams disguising themselves as stores like Walmart.

The Harrisonburg Police Department is investigating an e-mail scam after a woman was told she had been hired as a mystery shopper for Walmart then received fraudulent checks she tried to cash.

"It would be easy to become a victim in these types of cases because you receive a check and it very may well seem legitimate, a legitimate offer. And there is a mystery shopper program. And so immediately the victim believes it may be legitimate," said Sgt. Jason Kidd with the Harrisonburg Police Department.

Walmart issued a fraud alert warning customers it doesn't recruit mystery shoppers that way, telling people to delete or report those offers.

It's a message Hockman also wants to share.

"Hang up. Throw the thing away. That's the best I can tell people. Everybody's scamming nowadays," said Hockman.

Kidd said there's a lot of scammers out there, so be careful. Especially when it comes to messages or offers you aren't expecting or didn't request.

Sometimes the red flags don't pop up right away, but if you have to pay up front or if you have to cash a check and then send back money, that's a pretty good sign that you're dealing with a scam.


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