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Saturday, May 21, 2022

SCAM ALERT: Cottonwood County sheriff warns of Secret Shopper scam

A local resident recently reported to Sheriff Jason Purrington that a new local scam is hitting the area. It’s called the Secret Shopper Scam.

The resident reported receiving an official looking letter that begins this way:

“Dear Esteemed Secret Shopper,

“This packet is in respect to the secret shopper offer you applied for. You have been selected and hired to be a customer service evaluator in your geographic location. Please read carefully and follow all instructions to the letter. Your survey packet contains a cashier’s check for $2,250.00 (this is to cover your pay/purchases, survey bonus and transportation costs.)”

Ultimately, the scammer is trying to get the resident to send gift card numbers under the guise of this being proof that the “survey” was completed.

The letter goes on to list multiple steps related to a store survey and other tasks the recipient must handle, with special “bonus” increases based on how quickly each step is accomplished. The final step is to visit two or more stores to purchase gift cards in $100, $200 and $500 denominations. Ulitimately, the buyer is to scratch off the back panel of each card to reveal the codes and then send a clear picture of each card, along with receipts and survey results. A phone number and e-mail address are provided.

The goal of the scammer is to receive the gift card numbers before the bank realizes that the official-looking $2,250 check is worthless. If the scammer is successful, the victim stands to lose roughly $2,000.

As always, residents are reminded not to cash high value checks received out of the blue from “companies” or “groups” with which they’ve had no previous contact. Most often, if something seems too good to be true, it is probably a scam.

If you have been the target of a scam, your first contact should be the local authorities. Also, feel free to contact us with details (we can keep your name confidential, if you wish).

Send your story to: rahnl@windomnews.com, or call 507-831-3455. By sharing your story, you could prevent someone from being scammed.
Watch www.windomnews.com for regular weekday updates at 8 a.m./noon/5 p.m., plus BREAKING stories at other times. Follow CoCoCitizen @CitPub on Twitter.

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