Sheriff investigating 'secret shopper' scam

Sheriff investigating 'secret shopper' scam

ST. MARY PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Deputies with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office are investigating a complaint of an online secret shopper scam where the victim was defrauded.

The scam began with an email from a company claiming to be hiring mystery shoppers. The victim was directed to cash a money order sent from the fraudulent company and then forward a portion of the money order to a California address.

The victim was ultimately defrauded of $1,000.

Scam artists often claim that you must first deposit a check or money order often sent by the scammer and mail or wire money back to them in order to collect a monetary benefit. If an unsuspecting bank customer withdraws the money before the check or money order clears then it is the customer who is responsible for any deficiency if the check or money order is fraudulent.

This scam is just one example of how scammers operate.

In recent months, the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office has also received reports of phone scams. The callers claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service, computer maintenance companies, and other entities.

Scams come in all shapes and sizes but do have a common theme. The scammer wants money or personal/private information from you. Sheriff Mark Hebert urges residents to talk with their families and friends who may be unaware of these and other types of scams. The conversation could save someone you care about from experiencing the grief of a financial loss.

Residents should also be aware of con artists seeking to take advantage of generous residents this holiday season. If you suspect that a scammer is targeting you, contact your local law enforcement agency.

The SMPSO may be reached at 985-384-1622 or 337-828-1960. In addition to alerting the local authorities, internet and phone scams may also be reported online at The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, funded in part by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The site also provides information and tips for the public on how scams work and how to avoid them.

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