Mystery Shopping Scam Exposed on NBC Today Show

Mystery Shopping Scam Exposed on NBC Today Show

As a reputable company with 24 years in business, we are always concerned about scams involving mystery shopping. An NBC Today Show segment which aired on March 23, 2009 did an excellent job of explaining the mystery shopping scam that typically plays out like this: the consumer receives an unsolicited email from what looks to be a mystery shopping company. The consumer replies with personal information and accepts a “mystery shop” assignment from the bogus company. This consumer soon receives a certified check from the bogus mystery shopping company, along with an “assignment” to deposit the check and then send funds via Western Union or Moneygram to a person designated on the assignment. The idea is that Western Union or Moneygram are being “mystery shopped” and the mystery shopper can keep a portion of the check amount. Usually, the certified check amounts are $900-2000 with shoppers enticed into performing the shop by being allowed to keep anwhere from $300 to $900. Eventually, what happens is that the consumer is notified by his or her bank that the certified check was not good. The full amount of the check is then charged back to the consumer’s checking account.

If you have fallen victim to this scam, or if you have been contacted by any of these scammers, please file a complaint with the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

At Confero, we have been particulalry concerned about this scam. Scammers have attemtped to take advantage of Confero’s reputation by using a fake Confero email address to go phishing for responses. Several bogus Confero email addresses have been used, including and So far, we are aware of the scammer using these names Chris Jordan, Robert Preston, Michael Thomforde, James Clayton, James Clayton, Carlos Burnett and Paula Moore.

What can consumers do to steer clear of this?

  1. Only sign up to mystery shop with reputable firms. All members of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association have agreed to honor a code of ethics.
  2. Reputable firms are not likely to ask for your name, address and other contact info via email. Sign up with firms that offer a secure website for sign ups.
  1. Never pay to be accepted as a shopper. Reputable firms pay YOU to mystery shop and charge you NOTHING to sign up.

To those of you who have notified us about the phishing emails: thank you. And thank you, also, to the Today Show for an enlightening segment about this issue.

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