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Email Survey / Mystery Shopper Scams

Once you wire the money to the thief, it's gone.

August 5, 2016 11:20 PM
We have received multiple complaints about people receiving fraudulent job offer emails from con-artists.  In some of the job offers, the con-artist offers to pay $200 for completing testing and survey assignments.  Some of the fraudulent messages offer the job of "Detective/Undercover Mystery Shopper". 

These job offers are a scam.


The way that the scam works is as follows:
  • The con-artist will contact you via email and ask you if you are interested in participating in a survey or job assignment. 
  • If you reply that you are interested, the con-artist will mail you a check for an amount of money, ask you to deposit the money in your bank account, and immediately wire all but $200 of the money back to them. 
  • Once you wire the money out to the con-artist, the con-artist will have your money and you will no longer hear from them.
  • A few days later, your bank will tell you that the check has bounced and take the money back. You are then left with the loss of the money that you wired out and no way to reach the con-artist.

If you have received one of these messages, do not wire the money to the con-artist.  As soon as you wire the money to the con-artist, the money is gone.  Just stop responding to the con-artist.


If you are a victim and have sent money to the con-artists, please file a criminal complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.  They can be reached at the following web address:  https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx


Mark Cather / UMBC Chief Information Security Officer


Tags: security
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