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Viewer works with News5 to avoid losing cash in secret shopper scheme

Dakota Rogers says it all started with an unexpected text message
News5 helps viewer avoid costly secret shopper scam
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 19:22:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Did you get a text or email telling you about an exciting opportunity to work as a secret shopper? Maybe the company even sent you a check and directions on what to do in the mail. News 5's Patrick Nelson shows us why it's likely a scam and something you should know about.

Last week we talked about the large number of employment scams that are impacting people trying to rebound from the pandemic. The secret shopper scam is one of those schemes that's been around, but now the fraudsters appear to be targeting people in our communities once again.

Dakota Rogers is a southern Colorado resident who got an unexpected text message offering her an opportunity to work as a secret shopper to make some extra cash. Needing some extra money for a series of home repairs, she decided to sign up and just days later got a package in the mail.

"I reach in and I find this lovely check," said Rogers. "This is going to help with the repairs. I'm really happy."

Fortunately, before carrying out the plan of the person who sent her this check printed for $4,750, Rogers called News 5 to ask if this was real.

The way the directions were worded, plus the fact they were asking her to buy eight $1,000 money orders and not to tell anyone made this appear very questionable. This all appears to fit the descriptions and warnings that go along with a secret shopper scam.

Here is how the FTC defines the scam:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/fake-offers-secret-shopper-jobs

"Think about this before you proceed. I was really tempted to go to the bank. I really was," said Rogers. You did the investigating for me otherwise I could've bit into this really big."

If anyone ever tells you to deposit a check, withdraw money, and send it to someone, that's a scam. When the check later turns out to be fake, the bank will want the money back.

Also, if anyone tells you to go buy gift cards and share the pin numbers, that's a scam, too.

If you ever have questions, or want us to look into something you can contact us here at News 5 anytime.

Newsroom Hotline: 719-630-3930

Contact News 5 Investigates via our website: https://www.koaa.com/about-us/contact-news5/news5-investigates-contact