BBB Warns of Mystery Shopping Scam

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Scott Wykoff

Better Business Bureau is warning Marylanders that a mystery shopping scam is actively soliciting victims. Forward Business LLC, a fraudulent company, claims to offer individuals the opportunity to earn extra money, as much as $200.00, by acting as mystery shoppers in various retail stores.

A local woman looking to earn additional money recently enrolled as a mystery shopper online. She received two checks in the mail totaling $990, with instructions to deposit the funds before she started shopping. The shopper became suspicious after discovering the name on the check was Motel 6 and not Forward Business. She went to her local bank, which identified the checks to be fraudulent. A week later, she received two more checks.

In addition to the Maryland consumer’s inquiry, BBB in New York, Chicago and Phoenix had reports on mystery shopping scams associated with either Forward Business or the phone number given to the local resident.

“Genuine jobs as mystery shoppers are few and far between,” said Angie Barnett, BBB | Greater Maryland, president and CEO.”Schemers profit by sending fraudulent or counterfeit checks, asking the victim to shop and wire part of the money back to them either under the guise of ‘rating’ the store’s wire service. Eventually, the check will bounce, leaving the victim on the hook for the purchases and out the wired money,” added Barnett.

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