Scam alert issued after Lake Country incident

A resident alerted police when she received an unsolicited cheque for nearly $4,000

A sceptical Lake Country woman alerted police Monday when she received an unsolicited cheque for nearly $4,000 and a letter recruiting her to become a mystery shopper.

The woman opened her mail to find an unsolicited letter detailing how to make an extra $450 to $550 a week by working as a “mystery shopper.” Inside the letter was a cheque for $3,980 with instructions to cash the cheque and a list of how it was to be distributed. In this particular case, $3,190 of the money was to be wired by Money Gram or Western Union.

“The cheque is counterfeit, of course, and the whole set up is a scam,” said RCMP spokesperson Const. Kris Clark. “If the cheque was to be cashed and the money wired, the victim would be accountable to repay those funds and the scammer would be laughing all the way to the bank.”

Clark said it’s a classic example of the Mystery Shopper scam which is similar to Cheque Overpayment Fraud.

If you receive a cheque in the mail, or a significant overpayment for services rendered, and the sender asks for a large portion to be returned via a money wiring service, Clark said you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s a scam.

“Ask yourself, ‘Why did they send too much money?’ or ‘Why am I paying other mystery shoppers?’” said Clark.

For more information on frauds and scams, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.