Scam uses ‘mystery shopper’ job as lure

| 01/08/2019 | 11 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): In the latest online scam, local victims are being lured by a ‘mystery shopper’ job con, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service warned on Thursday. The RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit is investigating who is behind the con, which is targeting people via social media and dishonestly promoting the mystery shopper jobs as a gateway to high-paying work. Victims receive a request from someone they know, which is often done using hacked social media accounts.

Police said the scammer then contacts the victims, telling them that their first assignment is to evaluate a money transfer service such as Western Union or MoneyGram. The person claims that they will need to transfer funds, which will be used to evaluate the transfer service, into the victim’s account. For this, the scammer asks for their personal details, including name, phone number and address, as well as personal bank account details.

The victim will be told to check their account for a transfer of the funds that will then be used to evaluate the money transfer service. These funds are transferred from another account that often has also been hacked, police explained. Other victims are given a cheque instead and told to deposit it in their personal bank account but because it can take weeks to uncover a fake cheque, the victim does not realise it hasn’t cleared.

The scammer gets the victims to withdraw the money from their own account and use that to test the transfer service, sending the cash to a third party. Police said that in either case, the person who deposited the cheque and/or withdrew funds from their account will be held responsible for reimbursing the bank once the discrepancy is discovered.

In order to protect yourself against these scams, the FCU reminded people that becoming a mystery shopper for a legitimate company does not cost anything. The public is urged not to respond to mystery shopper promoters who advertise in local classifieds, by email, or on social media. Do not click on any links contained in emails, and never provide your banking or personal details to anyone via social media or over the phone

Ignore any request to deposit a cheque or to withdraw funds transferred to your account. Report such requests to your bank immediately and never transfer money to a third party who you do not know.

If you are the victim of a scam, contact your financial institution immediately. You should keep all original documents, emails, withdrawal and wire transfer forms and any other logs of communication.

Because scams and fraudulent websites can emerge and change very quickly, individuals are encouraged to report any suspicions of possible internet scams by filing a complaint with the RCIPS FCU regardless of whether a loss is suffered. Reports can be made to your local police station, or directly to the FCU at 949-8797.

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Category: Crime, Police

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If it sounds too good to be true then it probably isn’t true.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You only need to find one sucker out of a thousand contacts to make these things work. It’s not unlike letting some random Colombian woman shoot “vitamins” in your face with a needle.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How do people even get scammed anymore?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are any non Caymanians who fall for this scam being prosecuted for working without a work permit?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I can’t help but laugh at those that think they are getting free money.

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