Secret Shopper

0916141535I am beginning to think it is.  The crazies are coming out of the woodwork and making a beeline to me. Allow me to share the latest escapade ….if nothing more it will keep you on the ready and alert to scam. In my eagerness to find an economic opportunity I responded to an e mail that asked if I wanted to be a secret shopper.  Are you kidding me?  I get to shop until I drop with someone else’s money and you pay me; where can I sign up?  This is a dream come true. I answer a few perfunctory questions and hit submit.

A few days later I receive an e mail informing me that I have been selected as a secret shopper and further instructions will be sent to me.  I am feeling pretty good at this time and anxiously awaiting additional information.  Be still my beating heart as I visualize myself shopping at high end stores on the Mag mile. Wait until I tell my girls about my good fortune over lemon drops.

In waiting for my instructions I happen to speak to a millennial who is computer literate.  His first question was whether or not I had goggled the company name and looked at their website.  Well I started sputtering and making excuses for my limited technology skills.  He immediately searched for the company and found a disclaimer on their web site telling anyone who could read that the company did not offer a program for secret shoppers and if you receive anything to the contrary you should contact the authorities. The company provided a link to the authorities which revealed a form to file a complaint.

I was rather disappointed by this turn of events and began to ponder what actions I would take if I received additional contact. At the time I thought I would just delete any e mails. I thanked my millennial and moved on.  It seems Bogus company did not.  The next e mail came under an entirely different name saying a check for $2,390 was in the mail to me via UPS. The email was signed, we got you.  The check was sent priority via UPS.  A new e mail arrived hours later with an explicit set of instructions.  As an aside the check looked good, darn good as a matter of fact. Drawn off an out of state credit union no one has ever heard the name of. These scammers are good.

 I was told in writing to take the check to my bank and deposit it in my account and in twenty-four hours cash the check and take $200 to spend in a big box store.  I was ok until they said a big box store.  I had a stroll down the Mag mile on my brain. I digress briefly. Once in the big box store I was to ascertain cleanliness, friendliness and helpfulness of staff.  I was not to inform anyone in the store that I was a secret shopper.  I was then to proceed to customer service and purchase a money gram for 2,190 minus fifty dollars for my time and trouble.  This money gram receipt has a reference number and that info was to be immediately conveyed to Mr. Shady, who was going to forward the money to two other secret shoppers along with the results of my survey.

Frankly I did not know whether I should be livid or play the game out.  I decided to tell my readers about it to see how you may have responded to this type of inquiry.  You see this is the time of year when men of good will can run across people of ill will.  Just because you look like a mark you can easily be separated from your money.  The game has been called everything from pigeon drop to pyramid to Ponzi.  Please stay alert.  If it looks and sounds too good to be true my best advice is to keep it moving.  My life is one hilarious adventure after another.  My girls think I should stay off the internet until I increase my skills.  As an aside this lesson only cost me postage to the authorities. Is it just me?

 E mail me at so I can make you a card carrying member of the “So they tried to get you too”. There is power in numbers. I look forward to hearing from you!


I have functioned as a Business and Media Consultant over the past sixteen years and spent many years developing my capacity to function in our ever evolving use of technology, communication, education and training.