Ohio AG issues warning about mystery shopper scam

By Bryan Cohen | May 28, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are warning consumers about a counterfeit check scam related to mystery shopping.

Unsuspecting victims of the scam receive a letter stating they have been chosen as a customer service evaluator by the Wexner Medical Center and must evaluate their local money transfer service by wiring hundreds of dollars.

"We want to warn consumers that these checks are counterfeit and not valid," DeWine said. "Unfortunately scammers often use the names and images of reputable organizations to make their ploys seem legitimate. No matter how real the checks look, consumers should not deposit them or send any money in response."

The letter claims to be from a subdivision of the medical center called the Income Booster Mystery Shopper Group. The letter congratulates the recipient on being picked to participate in the mystery shopper program and includes a $1,490 check. Consumers are told to take $350 of the check as salary, wire transfer $990 and use the remaining $150 as a shopping fund.

Consumers who deposit the counterfeit check and wire the funds will lose their own money to the scam.

"Remember that if a job opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is," DeWine said. "If you receive a letter about a job you never applied for and a check you weren't expecting, it's almost always a scam."

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