Consumer Alert: Don't let mystery shopping offers fool you - CBS46 News

Consumer Alert: Don't let mystery shopping offers fool you

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Who doesn't want to make a little extra money on the side?

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Those ads promising big bucks for stuffing envelopes or becoming a mystery shopper can seem attractive. But in some cases, they are nothing more than a scam.

It starts with victims responding to a job ad that says, "Receive money orders in the mail, then go shopping."

"They would go to Wal-Mart, make purchases, rate their service they received at Wal-Mart, then they would go back to Western Union and mail back the remaining money to suspect," said US Postal Inspector David Nitz.

Unfortunately, the money orders the victims deposited into their bank accounts were counterfeit.

Postal inspectors were tipped off to one recent case after customs intercepted a package containing $400,000 worth of counterfeit money orders.

"They did a search of her home and found $300,000 worth of money orders," Nitz said.

In this specific case, there were 750 victims and more than $300,000 in losses. Inspectors say the scam is on the rise, so use common sense.

If you want to verify that a money order is real, take it to a post office. Employees there have been trained to detect counterfeits. Also, call the Better Business Bureau to check out any business that tries to solicit from you. And never send money back to anyone who sends you a check or money order, unless you know exactly who they are and are certain they are legitimate.

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