NPSA Warns of Mystery Shopper Scam

The NPSA is warning the industry about a new mystery shopping scam that seeks to wring its victims of $3,500.

Kansas City, MO, April 03, 2009 --( The National Portable Storage Association (NPSA) recently warned about a container shipping scam out of West Africa. Now, the NPSA is warning of a new mystery shopping scam that works to rob its victims of more than $3,500.

"Mystery shoppers typically are paid modest amounts and on some occasions may receive reimbursement for required purchases," said John Swinburn, Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) Executive Director. "Legitimate mystery shopping companies will never promise large sums of fast cash or require consumers to pay an up-front fee to become a mystery shopper."

In this scam, the subject is asked via e-mail to be a mystery shopper. Once the assignment is accepted, the subject receives a check for $3,500 drawn from a company different than the contacting organization. The subject is asked to visit a retailer to purchase $100 worth of goods, and to evaluate the store, cashier, and transaction in the process.

Next, the victim is told to test Western Union transactions. Specifically, the subject is instructed to visit a Western Union and wire $3,100 to an account in the United Kingdom. The subject gets to keep the $100 worth of goods and any left over funds. When the bank recognizes the fraudulent check, the subject is held liable for the entire amount of the money they wired to the international address.

"The message does carry some grammatical mistakes that would be easy to notice if you are aware that this may be scam," said John Finnessy, CMP, Executive Director of the NPSA, a nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of the portable storage industry. "Remember, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

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The National Portable Storage Association
We at the NPSA are here to serve those in the portable storage industry who rent, sell or lease containers, trailers and mobile offices. The National Portable Storage Association is dedicated to the advancement of the portable storage industry. The NPSA assists members with industry, regulatory and workforce issues; plus, offers members networking, marketing and legislative support at national, state and local levels.

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