Police warn of secret shopper scam targeting Columbus residents

Crime

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Columbus Police Department is issuing a warning about an increase in incidents of secret shopper scams targeting the Columbus area.

According to police, potential victims will receive a letter along with a check in the mail. The letter will contain a detailed list of tasks to complete as a secret shopper.

The letter will instruct the targeted victim to do the following:

  • Text receipt of letter and check to a specific phone number belonging to a person who is supposed to be the individual’s new “supervisor”
  • Deposit the enclosed check into his or her personal bank account
  • Once the funds have cleared (or partially cleared) withdraw the entire amount as cash
  • Then go to the nearest Walmart and obtain money orders (making to sure to keep the money orders blank)
  • Once the money orders are obtained, send the money orders via FedEx to an address that will be texted from the individual’s “supervisor”

Police say after the all of this has been done, the victim will be notified by their bank that the check they received, deposited, and cashed was fraudulent and they must pay the money back to the bank. Meanwhile the scammer walks away with the money orders, which are good.

Additionally, police say following completion of the scam, the “supervisor” will not be available for contact. Phone numbers and email addressed will changed or canceled, according to police.

Police say the money orders cannot be canceled because they were purchased with cash.

Police are urging everyone not to fall prey to the scam.

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