Mystery shopping scam warning

LOCAL people are being warned to be on their guard against adverts offering what could be scam employment opportunities.

Angus Council’s trading standards service has been recently alerted to a scam which works through an advert offering vacancies for “mystery shoppers”, offering the promise of fast money for minimal effort.

The consumer responding to the advert receives an initial cheque in the post for more than 3,000 Euros, and is told to await further instructions, usually by e-mail.

The victim then receives instructions to pay the cheque into their bank account and then pose as a customer of a money transfer agency and wire most of the money, around £2,500 to a fake “associate” at an address outside the UK.

The cheque, however, is counterfeit and the money wired abroad is collected by the scammers. This leaves the victims potentially liable for any funds which they spend while waiting for the cheque to clear – and they could end up losing thousands of pounds.

An Angus trading standards spokeswoman said: “This scam is a particularly nasty activity because it exploits people on low incomes who are looking for work and job experience and can least afford to be ripped off.”

To avoid falling victim to this type of scam, trading standards is advising the public to never send money to a stranger using a money transfer service, not to take at face value the validity of a genuine-looking cheque and to not be pressurised into sending their own money in any “mystery shopping” exercise.

Anyone affected by this or any other scam can contact Angus trading standards service on 01241 435600.