View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Deputies warn of secret shopper scam

Crooks victimized at least 2 SCV residents

Posted: October 1, 2008 8:31 p.m.
Updated: December 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Those looking for extra income should be wary.

Scammers using classified advertisements are ripping off people in Santa Clarita Valley, a sheriff’s official said.

The second of two Santa Clarita Valley residents reported getting ripped off in a secret shopper scam Tuesday. The first victim told deputies the advertisement ran in the classified section of The Signal, said Sgt. James Anderson of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station. Scammers duped the first victim July 20 and the second victim Aug. 4, he said.

The advertisement claims people can make easy money as a secret shopper. The unsuspecting victims call the number and receive a check along with instructions on how to work as a secret shopper, Anderson said. The check is usually for $3,000 dollars. The person is told to go to Western Union or Moneygram store, buy a money order for $2,800 and send it to an address out of the country, he said. The scammers tell the victim to keep the difference, he said.

The check never clears and the scammers get away with the money order with no way to trace the funds, Anderson said.

“The check is usually fraudulent or written to a closed back account,” he said.

There is very little recourse for victims, Anderson said. The con is orchestrated from out of the country. When it originates in Canada there is an agency within the country that works with American authorities to apprehend the suspects, he said.

In the case of the locals who fell pray to the scam, the con artists are from Africa and there is no interagency cooperation, he said.

“The FBI collects data but does not pursue the suspects,” Anderson said.

What made the latest scam so convincing was the letterhead is from a real marketing company based in New Jersey, Anderson said. Capstone Research’s letterhead was used in the crime, he said.

The company is a legitimate marketing company. Calls made by The Signal to Capstone Research were not returned.

Anderson advises people looking at work-at-home opportunities to take their time.

“Let the check clear before you buy a money order,” he said.


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...