Woman catches mail scam before it gets her

Posted at 10:42 AM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 12:42:45-04

Click here for updates on this story

    Louisiana (KTBS) — Get paid to go shopping? Sounds too good to be true.

Along with the bills and junk mail, a letter and a check showed up in Orlisa Johnson’s mailbox last week. It promised to put extra cash in her pocket if she did a few simple things.

“You see money, you get big-eyed!” Said Johnson.

The offer: deposit the check at your bank, use some of it to buy iTunes gift cards at reputable retailers, then take the rest of the money as a fee.

Andy Fisher, of the Better Business Bureau, says it’s been a while since he’s seen a scam like this.

“This is a very popular thing to do, and it’s called ‘secret shopper,’” he added.

Here’s the catch, you spend your money upfront and send it to the scammers in the form of gift cards, with the promise of that check to cover the expense. But a few days later you find out the check is a fake and you’ve lost hundreds of dollars.

The scams seem to pop up as the holiday season approaches.

They push people to handle the transactions fast. In Johnson’s case, within 48 hours. That raised a red flag.

“I waited for the check to clear my bank, then the bank notified me that the check was invalid.”

Another “red flag” for Johnson was that the letter asked her to send a text to confirm she received the envelope. She tried dialing the number and it was unavailable.

“Sometimes we think we’re going to get something for nothing, but you don’t,” added Fisher.

He says the best thing to do, is take the check to your bank and have them put it out for collection. Bank tellers are also better trained to spot things that seem fishy.

Johnson did the right thing by waiting for the check to clear, or else, she would have been out nearly $2,000.

“This is not the season to be out $1,900!”

We could all use some extra cash during the holidays, but Fisher says nine times out of ten, this is not the route you want to take.

“They work real hard trying to take your money from you.”

Fisher adds, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission if you receive anything fishy.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.