Consumer says 'keep on clicking' to avoid secret shopper email scams

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Just last week, Louciann Mims got an email asking her to be a secret shopper for Walmart offering $200 per day for doing it.

"I figured hey, I shop every day. It's just easy. They wanted me to go in and be a mystery shopper, get the cashier's name tag, and report about how the store looked," Mims said.

The email said prior to performing the assignment, Mims would be paid either by check or direct deposit. She chose not to use direct deposit.

"Because I'm skeptical about giving out my bank information," she said.

Just two days later and optimistic about being a mystery shopper, Mims got a check in the mail for $996. The email told Mims to deposit the check into her account and take out $180 for herself, which included money to buy any item under $10 while secret shopping. That was red flag number one. Red flag number two for Mims was the envelope the check came in. Mims says the return address said Advantage Auto Parts.

Mims says red flag number three was the email asking for the remaining $816 to be sent back through MoneyGram as a donation to an undisclosed charity.

Still thinking she might be able to make some quick cash, Mims headed to Walmart, but when she was halfway there, she realized this was a scam.

"No one is just sending out checks these days," Mims said.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says there are some legitimate businesses that hire people to monitor service quality. However, beware of unsolicited emails and there's never a legitimate reason for someone to send you money, then ask for money in return.

RELATED: Is this a scam?

"If you see this in your email, my advice would be just to keep on clicking," said Mims.

Mims says with Christmas around the corner, she's glad she thought twice and encourages others to do the same.

"I'm positively sure that these people would've wiped my bank account."

The BBB encourages people looking for jobs to research any mystery shopper business, and don't fall for claims that you will be guaranteed a position and never pay money up front. The BBB says a legitimate mystery shopping service will not charge money for materials, training, or recruiting.

Visit Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) for information on how to become a mystery shopper with an MSPA associate company.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.