Western Union Money Laundering
Home Scams “1st-Step Assignment” Mystery Shopper Scam Email

“1st-Step Assignment” Mystery Shopper Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email offers you are well-paid assignment as a mystery shopper evaluating the services of stores such as Walmart.


Brief Analysis:
The email is fraudulent and it was not sent by a legitimate mystery shopper company. In fact, it is a scam designed to trick you into “laundering” the proceeds of dodgy cheques.

Example:
Subject: Welcome to 1st-Step Assignment ®

Hello,

We have a customer service survey assignment in your location
and we will pay $395/ Assignment.
Which would come in the form of a cashiers check for you to
perform your assignment.

The job entails an Evaluation process such as visiting [Wal-
mart/K-mart,e.t.c.]
Send below information to get started If you are still
Interested:

Register Form :
—————
1. Full_Name :___
2 Your_Address :___
3. Citys_States_Countrys :___
4. Zip_Codes :___
5. Phones :___
6. Ages :___
7. Gender :___
8. Alt. E-mail :___

NB : [We prioritize candidates from USA & Canada to apply for
this Offer]

Sincerely,
Name removed

Mystery Shopper Scam Email



Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which purports to be from a well-known mystery shopping organisation, there is a mystery shopping assignment available in your area. The email claims that you will be paid $395 to evaluate the services of stores such as Walmart. It explains that you will receive a cheque to enable you to carry out the assignment.  It asks that you register your interest in the assignment by replying with your name and contact details.

However, the email is not from any legitimate company and the supposed assignment is just another money laundering scam.

If you reply and take up the offer, you will soon receive a cheque from the scammers.  You will be instructed to cash the cheque, deduct $395 as your payment, and use the remainder for the mystery shopper assignments. But, the cheque will be for several thousand dollars, substantially more than you would need to carry out your Walmart evaluation. You will first be instructed to buy one or two minor items at a Walmart outlet and evaluate the service you receive. Then, you will be instructed to evaluate the service provided by your local Western Union office by wiring the remainder of the cash to a specified recipient, often described as another mystery shopper.

But alas, the cheque will turn out to be fake or stolen. And, you will have inadvertently turned most of the proceeds of the dodgy cheque into cash by wiring the money back to the criminals via Western Union.  Of course, the “mystery shopper” you thought you wired the money to is, in fact, the criminals themselves.

And, to make matters worse, police investigations into the bogus cheques may lead directly to your door. Meanwhile, the criminals will have disappeared with their cash, leaving you holding the bundle.

Scams like this one are very common. Keep in mind that no genuine mystery shopper organisation is ever likely to send you a cheque for a large sum of money, have you deduct your payment, and then use the rest for your supposed mystery shopper assignments. That is simply not how genuine companies conduct business.


Last updated: February 24, 2017
First published: February 24, 2017
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
‘Mystery Shopper’ Money Laundering Scams
Western Union Mystery Shopper Money Laundering Scam

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer