Woman loses cash to secret shopper scam - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Woman loses cash to secret shopper scam

SPOKANE, Wash. - A 27-year-old Spokane Valley woman has lost a substantial sum of money to a scam artist who sent her a paycheck for $1,800 and then asked her to send the $1,200 overage back via Western Union.

The ploy worked like this: The woman would agree to be a Secret Shopper and would earn $600 in pay. She received the $1,800 check with instructions to return the remainder.

The fraud suspect's check, drawn on a closed account, named a business called Allsafe Incorporated.  After the victim discovered she had been fooled with a bad check that emptied her account of the $1,200, she called a contact number for the company.

The victim said a male who answered the phone only laughed at her and hung up.

This type of scam is a common way for check counterfeiters and fraud artists to loot the bank accounts of unwary victims.  Some suspects buy an item on an Internet site such as Craig's List and then send a counterfeit check for more than the seller was asking.

They ask the seller to cash or deposit the check and to send the overage back.  In effect, the victim becomes the fraud suspect's accomplice in obtaining cash with a counterfeit or otherwise bad check.

Law enforcement has little authority to track them down to recover the victim's money because the suspect usually operates from out of state or out of country.

The best defense for this type of scam is to not fall for it in the first place. 

Anytime a purchaser sends a check for an amount greater than the cost of the item purchased, the seller should beware.  Similarly, if a Secret Shopper or some other program has a salary of "x" number of dollars, be wary if the company sends "y" number of dollars and asks you to return the overage.

- Spokane Valley Police

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