New ‘mystery shopper’ scam

ANGUS Council’s trading standards service is warning residents to watch out for advertisements offering what may be scam employment opportunities.

The service has been alerted to a scam which works through an advert which appears offering vacancies for ‘mystery shoppers’, offering the promise of fast money for minimal effort.

The consumer who responds to the advert receives an initial cheque in the post for over 3,000 Euros, and is told to await further instructions, usually by e-mail.

The victim then receives instructions to pay the cheque into their bank account and then pose as a customer of a money transfer agency and wire most of the money (e.g. £2,500) to a fake ‘associate’ at an address outside the UK.

However the cheque is counterfeit and the money wired abroad is collected by the scammers. This leaves the victims potentially liable for any funds which they spend while waiting for the cheque to clear – and they could end up losing thousands of pounds.

A spokesperson for Angus trading standards said: “This scam is a particularly nasty activity because it exploits people on low incomes who are looking for work and job experience and can least afford to be ripped off.”

To avoid falling victim to this type of scam:

l Never send money to a stranger using a money transfer service.

l Do not take on face value the validity of a genuine looking cheque.

l Do not be pressurised into sending your own money in any ‘mystery shopping’ exercise.

Angus trading standards service can be contacted on 01241 435600.