Schneiderman shuts down two mystery shopper websites

Bryan Cohen Sep. 24, 2012, 1:12pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Friday that his office has shut down two websites that were allegedly part of a work-at-home mystery shopper scam.

T. Crefideal Corp. ran the websites and as part of a mystery shopper program used by legitimate retailers who hire marketing research companies to evaluate service quality at their stores. The company allegedly lured consumers into becoming mystery shoppers to gather information anonymously about certain stores' service. Instead of paying the consumers, however, the company allegedly duped the consumers into paying the scammers thousands of dollars.

"These scams are particularly insidious because they target individuals looking for ways to bolster their income in today's challenging job climate," Schneiderman said. "While legitimate 'work from home' opportunities do exist, scammers who are simply stealing money under the guise of offering employment are on notice. Our office will continue to protect consumers and shut these bad actors down."

Consumers were asked to log onto one of the two websites with a job number. After entering the job number, victims were given work assignments as secret shoppers for Western Union. Each victim was allegedly sent a counterfeit check for $2,000 and was told to keep $300 as payment. The victim was then allegedly told to wire the remaining $1,700 to someone overseas and evaluate the employees of Western Union during the process.

After the assignment, the bank of the victim would identify the check as counterfeit and take $2,000 out of the victim's account, Schneiderman says. The victims of the scam would then lose $1,700 instead of making $300, he says.

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