11 Listens: Beware of the mystery shopper scam in central Arkansas

11 Listens: Mystery shopper scam in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Have you ever been asked to be a mystery shopper? One THV11 viewer did, but wasn't sure if the offer was real.

Unemployed and eager to find work, Jennifer Chambers searches daily for any opportunity she can find.

"I never knew it could be such a hard process to find work,” explained Chambers.

She's emailed the major job boards--posting her resume to their sites, generating lots of spam mail in the process.

"I noticed the mystery shopper one, kind of intriguing I guess. Everyone likes to shop."

Jennifer says she saw a quick opportunity to earn some cash, so she replied and a few weeks later she had herself a check, and it was a big one.

"I went to the mailbox, I got the envelope and in it was a big check."

$2,858 to be exact. However along with the money came the instructions on how to spend it. Unsure of how to spot a scam, Jennifer quickly called the 11 Listens line.  We learned she's not the only one inquiring about mystery shopper scams.

“A scam through the mail is definitely a federal crime so enough of them in a certain area, and they might be able to track them down," said Mike Rohrer of the Better Business Bureau.

Rohrer said they receive several calls a week about the mystery shopper scam, and every year it gets more sophisticated.

"If you can't decipher the real from the fake, head to bbb.org and look for the scam tracker-then search the name of the scam,” said Rohrer. "You can see right here; we have some in Little Rock."

He said companies with real mystery shoppers are few and far between. And there's always red flags to look for you are contacted by one.

"They want to pay you in advance, and they overpay you and want you to send them money back immediately."

Luckily for Chambers, she never cashed her check, but if you do call the BBB right away.  She says she's just glad she followed her instinct, but said it is scams like this that make the job hunt more difficult.

"It makes me mad sometimes,” said Chambers, “you get your hopes up that something is real, and you're finally gonna get some work."

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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