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419 Scam – The "mystery shopper" check scam

The scammers claim to be a company paying people to test businesses, but actually are just abusing them to cash fraudulent checks for them and wire funds obtained via these checks back to the scammers.

Never cash a check for a third party who asks you to wire funds from the check to a party nominated by the check sender. Never send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people who you do not know personally.

See also:

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Email examples:

Mark Cole (

From: Mark Cole <>
Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2008 1:43:19 PM
Subject: Hello

Hello there,

We are a company that conducts surveys and evaluate other companies. We get
hired to go to other peoples companies and act like customers in order to know
how the staffs are handling their services in relation to their customers.Once
we have a contract to do so, you would be directed to the company or outlet,
and you would be given the funds you need to do the job (either purchase
products or required services), after which you would write a comment on the
staffs activities and give a detailed record of your experience

Examples of details you would forward to us are

1) How long it took you to get the services requested.
2) Smartness of the attendant
3)Customer service professionalism
4)Sometimes you might be required to upset the attendant, to see how they
react to clients why they get tensed.

And we turn the information over to the company executives and they would
carry out their own duties in improving their services.
Most companies employ our assistance when people give complains about their
services, or when they feel there are needs for them to improve their customer
service. your Identity would be kept confidential as the job states
(secret/mystery shopper) you would be paid $200 for every duty you carry out,
and bonus on your transportation allowance, and funds would be given to you if
you have to dine as part of the duty Your job will be to evaluate and comment
on customer service in a wide variety of shops, stores, restaurant and
services in your area.

No commitment is made on this job, and you would have flexible hours as it
suits you. If you are interested, do send in these information:


So we can look at your distance from the locations which you have to put your
service into, and your address would also be need for your payments.



Mark Cole.
11 alywn gardens,
Alwyn, Greater London
United Kingdom

Next email:

From: Mark Cole <>
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 6:14:07 AM
Subject: RE: Hello

Hello Mystery Shopper ,

How are you ? Hope everything is okay ? Your information has been recieved and will be recorded. There is an assignment in your area now. Here are the details for the assignment.

You are going to do 2 assignments in 1.

You are to shop at Wal-Mart and give a report on customer service, quality of product, and cleanliness of the establishment. I hope there is a Wal-Mart store in your area. Money will be provided for you to shop.

You will also ascertain the ease of sending Western Union from Wal-Mart.

You will also be paid a commission of $200 for your assignments and assigned $100 to shop for anything of your choice for your personal use.

NOTE : Commission is yours for the mystery shopping done and same goes for anything you shop for at Walmart. Lastly, western union is going to be sent to another complain center for one of our mystery shoppers to pick up and would be sent back to you for other mystery shopping assignments. Funds to be to the other mystery shopper and western union wire fees would be including in the payment you would receive.

We are going to send you a cheque for the assignments. You should not use any personal funds for your assignment. I need you to send the following information below, So ill provide you with the money for the assignment and detailed instructions henceforth.

Your full names (As you want it to appear on the cheque)
Address (where you want the cheque delivered)
Home number (best time to call)
Cell number (best time to call)

P.S: The job can be done over your free time but requires communication. So please be available or by email as much as possible.

After shopping at Wal-Mart, you will send the balance through western union so as to ascertain the ease of on-line and instant transfers as against cheques and money orders. Adequate information will be provided as to details of the fellow mystery shopper should be sent to.

Let me know if you can handle this.Looking forward to your prompt response.

Mark Cole.

Next email:

From: Mark Cole <>
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 12:48:06 PM
Subject: Hello

Sorry that we did not contact you for along time now.I just want to inform you that your frist assisgment as our mystery shopper in your area will start soon.
Your information has been sent to our Head Office for recording and processing of funds,i would give you an update in next 48hours to let you know that the PAYMENT has been sent to you by UPS so please be on the look out but i would also need you to be available to pick up your calls from our agents in the states,they might want to give you a call concerning the shipping of the PAYMENT to you,

And pls reply to your emails instantly at all times, also you are required to reconfirm your direct telephone number or cell phone number back in your reply to me. Failure to do so will result in Termination of this Job Proposal.

I would also like to know if you have worked for anyone on this type of part time job offer before.
Please get back to me ASAP.

Next email:

From: Mark Cole <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 11:46:11 AM
Subject: Hello

Mystery Shopper ,

The funding for your first assignment which includes your duty fee has
been sent out to you and would be deliver to you Today.

I want you to give me the best time to reach you on the phone to
enable me speak with you in person regarding your first assignment.

As soon as you confirm the delivery of the check, take the cheque to
your financial institution (Bank) to have it deposit and cashed,
deduct your $200 for your payment as

you would be paid on every information you submit.

Immediately you cash the check at your bank and deduct your payment,
proceed to the Wal-Mart location below to perform your duty

We have an had complains about almost all the Wal-Mart stores around
your area. You are going to be a mystery shopper at 1 of the wal mart
stores around your area.

Please find the closest to you and take the address down as it would
be required.

Remember: Any item you purchase from the Wal-Mart store should be kept
by you for your personal use since we are only interested in the
accurate information from your

survey. You are to make a purchase of any electronic item worth $100
(to be kept by you) plus your $200 duty fee to make it a total of $300
as stated.

We have an had complains about almost all the western union centers in
your area for poor customer service and negligence.

Kindly find the closest western union to you and state the address
below. You would be a mystery shopper there.

2) You are to be a mystery shopper at the following Western Union location

The reason for this survey is that the above named Western Union
location has been reported several times for slow services, funds
missing and unbalanced exchange rate.

It is now your duty to carry out the fund transfer at the location.

While transferring the funds you are to take note of the following.
How long it took you to complete the transfer services.
Name of the agent / his or her attitude towards customers.
Total amount transferred

The Western Union charges should be deducted from the remaining fund
after you deduct your $200 and not deducted from your payment please

You would send the funds to the following address. And our mystery
shopper in California would pick the funds up from the location where
two customers have reported

their money missing.

Name: Laurie Wright
City: Gainesville
State: FL
Zipcode: 32607

You would provide me with the following information.
Senders full name and address
Total amount sent.
10 digit MTCN: money transfer control number.

The funds would be picked up and sent back to you immediately. You
would be given another location to pick it up, upon picking the funds
up you would use the money for

the next assignment and you get paid again, and you provide some more
information on the services.
Please note that your assignment should be kept secret, you do not
need to let the agent at the Western Union / Wal-Mart location know
you are taking note of this.

Tracking number: XXXXXXXX8794 (
Amount on check: $2,969.69



Mark Cole

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