Woman signs up to be secret shopper, ends up losing more than $2,000

CHICAGO -- An Illinois woman thought she was signing up for a side job, but her so-called new gig ended up costing her thousands of dollars.

Galyin Rose has been hairstylist for 20 years and says business can get a little slow after the holidays, so she signed up for a job where she could make some extra cash. It was a job she was familiar with, but she ended up losing more than $2,000.

"When this came in I said this will be a way to make something extra and pay some bills," she said.

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She said she got an email from someone who she thought was a job recruiter informing her about a secret shopper job. Rose said she's been a secret shopper before and really enjoyed it.

"So, because I'd done it before, it seemed legit," she said.

A few days later, she said the recruiter mailed her packet with instructions and a cashier's check for $2,900.

Here's what she was asked to do.

-Deposit the $2900 check at her local bank,

-Select two stores,

-Purchase $2,600 worth of gift cards from those stores,

-Document her in-store experience,

-Mail in the gift cards and her feedback report,

-And keep $379 as her payment for the job.

Rose said she deposited the cashier's check, followed all of the instructions and sent off the gift cards.

"To me, I considered a cashier's check to be cash," she said. "I didn't think anything of it."

But not long after mailing the gift cards off...she learned that cashier check for $2,900, bounced, meaning she was on the hook for all of that money.

Chase Bank said there was nothing they could do.

"I was shattered. I was angry," Rose said. "My car payment was coming up and It was horrible and of course my mortgage. Last thing you want to be late on is your mortgage."

Rose said she is angry at Chase Bank for not flagging the fraudulent check before issuing her the money. But more than anything, she said she's upset with herself.

"It's interesting how you think you will never be that person," she said. "You will always be woke and see these things when they're coming at you. And I missed it."

Chase Bank released a statement saying, "Our deposit policy is to get you your money quickly and we regularly remind all of our customers: know who you are getting money from, and know who you are sending money to. Our deposit account agreement lays it out clearly: "Although we attempt to identify and prevent fraudulent transactions, we have no duty to you to determine whether any check you deposit or cash is forged, counterfeit, altered, improperly endorsed or otherwise improper. If funds from a deposit become available and you can withdraw them, that does not mean the check or other item you've deposited is 'good,' has 'cleared,' or has been paid by the paying bank. It's possible that the item will be returned unpaid months after we've made the funds available to you and you've withdrawn them. No one, including our employees, can guarantee to you that a check will not be returned."

Ms. Rose may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-382-4357. Here are additional tips for your viewers to avoid falling for a scam...

Don't reply to an email, phone call or text message that does these things:

  • Offers to send you a check and asks you to send part of the amount back to them

  • Requires you to give your personal or account information either directly in the email or on a website the email sends you to. Some attackers, for example, use pop-up windows on Web pages to ask for your confidential information.
  • Threatens to close or suspend your account if you don't take immediate action

  • Invites you to answer a survey that asks you to enter personal or account information

  • Tells you your account has been compromised, then asks you to give or confirm your personal or account information

  • Tells you there are unauthorized charges on your account, then asks you to give your personal or account information

  • Asks you to confirm, verify or update your account, credit card or billing information

For more information, visit chase.com/security.

FTC Warning: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/07/mystery-shop-til-you-drop-not-so-fast
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