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The Truth vs. The Scam:


Work at home processing or reshipping checks, money orders, envelopes, and/or merchandise; receiving money wired into your account; writing checks on somebody else's account; secret shopper jobs; forwarding cash received in a package, by mail, by Western Union or MoneyGram; and receiving credit cards or gift cards from a foreign employer or someone you met online.


This page: Secret Shopper • Forwarding cash received in a package or by surface mail.

Please take your time; read through the material carefully.

Basics of the scamForwarding package and/or paymentsMoney wired into your accountRe-wiring Western Union or MoneyGram paymentsWriting checksForwarding loose checks and sealed envelopesSecret Shopper jobs Forwarding cash received by mail or packageReceiving credit cards or gift cards


Secret Shopper / Mystery Shopper

Secret Shopper (aka Mystery Shopper) jobs consist only of evaluating customer satisfaction.  At the most, a Secret Shopper is asked to dine at a restaurant or purchase certain products from a retailer.  The Secret Shopper is reimbursed by the employer upon presentation of receipts for the meal or purchases.

It is the retailers and restaurant owners themselves who hire Mystery Shopper companies to evaluate customer satisfaction at their places of business.

  • Receiving and sending money is never, ever involved. 


    Western Union and MoneyGram were designed to send money to friends and family, not to send money to strangers.


  • Secret Shoppers are never given money up front to wire through Western Union or MoneyGram. 

  • When you receive a check or money order up front with instructions to evaluate Western Union or MoneyGram, the check or money order is counterfeit and you are sending stolen money overseas; you are laundering stolen money.

  • Mystery Shoppers are hired by in-country companies, not by foreign Mystery Shopper companies.

  • Secret Shoppers never are never sent money orders or 3rd party checks. All checks are drawn on an account in the name of the company that hired you.  If you were hired by ABC Company, all checks show ABC as the name of the account holder.

If you have been hired to be a Secret Shopper, you can verify the validity of the hiring company by contacting the Mystery Shopper Providers Association, an international association of Secret Shopper companies.  You will find them here: http://www.mysteryshop.org/index-na.php.

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Forwarding cash received in a package or by surface mail.

If your scamployer (or Internet boyfriend/girlfriend) has sent you cash either directly or indirectly, with instructions to forward the cash to someone else, you are participating in money laundering.

What you are actually doing is sending a member of a scam network their share of a successful Internet scam.  We have no idea why some scammers have taken up this method of sending shares to other network members since it is impractical and risky.  Nonetheless, that's what some of the bad guys are doing.

In addition, it is against the rules of the Post Office (Federal) and every commercial delivery service such as UPS, Federal Express, and DHL to send cash through their system.

If you receive cash in this manner, please hang on to the envelope or package and contact your state's US Postal Inspector: http://www.usps.com/ncsc/locators/find-is.html

Next: Receiving credit cards or gift cards

  If you are involved in one of the scams mentioned on this page, go here:  What to do and how to do it.


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Direct deposits

and Bill Pay


Ideal for the scam victim whose account has been frozen

Ideal for anyone who doesn't have a checking account

Ideal for anyone who doesn't want to give out their main credit card numbers.


If you are acting as a collection agent (receiving payments) or re-shipper (forwarding agent), by law you must familiarize yourself with the state and federal laws governing collection agents and forwarding agents.

You need a contract for your clients to sign, and an attorney should write it for you.

You must abide by all internal control, compliance, and reporting regulations of the country and state in which your business is operating.

Funds should be deposited directly into your employer's bank account (an account on which you are NOT a signatory), opened in your country of residence by your employer under the employer's company name.

Business payments are not sent through Western Union or MoneyGram, which leaves no money trail and the funds can be picked up at any Western Union or MoneyGram office by anyone with the correct code or [fake] ID, regardless of the office you specified on your wire instructions.


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