Action Report: Don't fall for fake check scams

Updated: Feb. 10, 2017 at 9:53 PM CST
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Susan Scones is presently unemployed and decided to search the internet for temporary employment.

She did research on her computer before logging on to a well-known website employment website.

"I filled out a Mystery Shoppers application, got accepted," said Scones. "Yesterday the mail came, they FedEx a package with a check for over $2,000 that came in."

The total amount: $2,990.49 from a bank in Connecticut.

Her assignment was to evaluate stores. The letter inside the FedEx priority envelope said that Scones needed to deposit the check into her bank account and email the company so they could make the funds available within a few hours, or the next business day.

Additionally, Scones was instructed to wire $2,680 to three different people in Chicago.

The instructions, according to WLOX News Now Investigative reporter A.J. Giardina, should've been red flags. Luckily, Scones went to her bank before she wired money and cashed the check.

"My bank told me if I [would have deposited] it, that it would comeback to me and I would be responsible for all that money," she said.

The Federal Trade Commission says scammers use money transfers so they can get the money before victims realize they have been cheated.

"Legitimate mystery shopping opportunities are out there, but so are plenty of scams. If an opportunity is on the up and up, you won't have to pay an application free or deposit a check and wire money on to someone else," according to the FTC website.

The Mystery Shopping website acknowledges that there are groups trying to take advantage of legitimate shoppers, and has posted similar information and a link to the Federal Trade Commission on its website.

The site also says it does not pay shoppers up front, and if anyone requests a check in the mail to shop for them, it is a scam.

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