Audrey Juds, a longtime resident of New Berlin, has worked over 25 years covering the city as a reporter, editor and columnist. Contact her at email@example.com.
I just got an e-mail from "Wal-Mart Jobs" with the subject, "Vacancy-Recruitment Now." Conveniently, this job offer comes when a new Wal-Mart store has just opened in New Berlin.
But a little investigation proved it definitely is a scam. First of all, the return e-mail address is not from Wal-Mart, but from James Turner at a free e-mail site called GMX.com. The attachment is a Microsoft-Word document with the author information deleted.
This so-called job involves being a mystery shopper. You would be provided $300, of which you are to spend $150 to buy items while taking notes regarding the employees and the operation of the store. You get to keep the items you bought and keep the remaining $150 for your fee.
Sounds like a good deal. Then for the second assignment you would be wiring a check, supposedly worth over $2,000, to fraudsters located in Canada or other countries. Hmm. Sounds like the same money wiring procedure for the "Hi Grandma" scam, where you are asked to wire money from Wal-Mart to your stranded grandson who ran into difficulties with the law in Canada or elsewhere abroad.
The Wal-Mart web site warns that the check which you are provided is fake. "When it bounces – which occurs after the money is wired – the consumer is accountable (in some cases, criminally) to the bank for the entire amount of the fake check, plus additional penalty fees."
Also, consumers sometimes are asked information about their personal bank account and they become victims of identity theft.
Being a mystery shopper is not an unusual job. The Wal-Mart notice states that many retail and service corporations hire evaluators to perform secret or random checks on themselves or their competitors. "However, these companies never require applicants to provide funds up-front for registration or processing services."