Scam victim speaks out

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Darren Johnson
Publisher. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
An unexpected windfall — $2869.23. An easy job doing something she did anyway – shopping.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Walmart. Burger King.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“The job was to be a mystery shopper. The easiest job in the world,” she said. “Buy everything I want, and get paid for it.”
Then Jamie Smith of Nassau Community College was sent on a secret mission — use her new skills to test out Western Union on March 5.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“I didn’t think the job wasn’t real,” she added. “I used to work at Waldbaums, and we’d get mystery shoppers there all the time.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
She did her best double-oh-seven. Taking notes on how the Western Union clerk processed her order. She made some idle chit-chat with the clerk, who handled the transaction well.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Unfortunately.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Because in a few seconds of the whirr and buzz of a modem, Smith’s windfall was gone — and then some. She was suddenly $2400 in the hole.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
As her good check was being coverted to Euros by a recipient in Spain, the check she’d originally gotten from a group called Secret Shoppers bounced.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“I faxed over my evaluations of Walmart, Burger King and Western Union on Friday and Saturday. By Monday I tried to use my ATM card and couldn’t. It was locked down.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Secret Shoppers company was gone, with Smith’s cash, and Smith’s bank wasn’t too happy. They froze her account, tacked on some fees and Smith — who barely was getting by financially as a community college student – was in a panic.
“It’s a good thing I got my tax return, and have my parents,” she said, “because [Secret Shoppers] took every little bit from me.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The 26-year-old studying to be an RN orginally got an email from Secret Shoppers after filling out a form on a site for job-seekers. The application seemed reasonable. It didn’t ask for a Social Security number or bank router number.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
She dealt with a human by phone in Nebraska who gave her instructions on how to evaluate businesses. The purpose of the business, he said, was so that the corporations could conduct local quality control.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The $2900 check sent to her was to be an advance. After all, she would need money to shop. For a busy college student, this seemed like a great opportunity.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“When you think of scams, you think of the elderly,” Smith said. “You don’t think it can happen to you.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
However, Smith didn’t want to vet this job with people close to her. “Normally, I’d talk to my father about something like this. But I didn’t. I thought I could handle this all by myself.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Now she’s warning others.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“I feel like an idiot, but I’d like to let other students know not to fall for anything like this and learn from my mistakes,” she said. “I thought if money cleared in the bank, it meant it was available — but that’s not actually the case with checks, especially from outside the state. They can end up bouncing a week or more later, and you’ve lost the money.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
She continued: “When you get a job, meet the person in person. Don’t do it online. Be sure to ask others for advice.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it’s a fraud. … But it’s easy to get blinded by the money when you don’t have much money to begin with.”

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