Troubleshooter: Beware of secret shopping scam

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- If you're looking for extra cash to start off the new year, don't get fooled by the secret shopping letter showing up in mailboxes.

Gwen Griffin got a letter in her mailbox and said, "Gosh this looks like; I bet a check is in here."

Griffin said she thought God answered her prayers. Inside the envelope, was a check for $3,840 and a list of instructions.

"They were paying me $800 to be trained to be an independent private evaluator," Griffin added. "My job was to secretly go into the Rite Aid, CVS, and Kroger stores to purchase reload packs and evaluate the customer service level at the particular store."

The letter goes on to tell her to use the remaining money to put on the reloadable cards. Next, call the number on the letter and give them the numbers on the reload cards. After looking at the letter and check more carefully, Griffin noticed something.

"It was written on a bank in one state, mailed in another state, and they were located in another state. That was the first clue, and they were located miles apart and I said that didn't seem right," Griffin exclaimed.

The letter also had a lot of errors, but the check looked so real. Griffin thought it could be an answered prayer.

"I was really down to no money at all. I've been praying for a few days, and I said 'Lord please.' When I saw this check, I was like 'Oh boy the Lord heard me."

Griffin couldn't ignore the red flags, and she called me. I let her know 100 percent that this is a scam. If Griffin would have cashed the check, and bought the reload cards the scammers would have their money. The bank that cashed the original check would have eventually learned it was a bad check, and then Griffin would have owed $3,840 back to the bank.

The best advice is to stay away from any company that asks you to cash a check and send money back using reloadable cards. This is a common trend among scammers. The scammers also use legit company names. In this case, they used Griffin's insurance company name to try to get her attention.

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