Beware of Secret Shopper Jobs

My heart goes out to Sallie in Westcliffe, west of Pueblo. She's now taking out a loan to repay her bank $2,000.

She thought she had become a secret shopper and followed the instructions she found online at

The site looks totally legit, the instructions are anything but. Sallie first was told to wire $750 to Madrid, Spain and then use MoneyGram to send more than $800 to Atlanta, Georgia.

She was then instructed to shop at one of several stores and keep the merchandise. Her job was to evaluate the employees.

After doing all the work, she learned the $2,000 check she cashed was bogus and it was up to her to cover the loss.

I found a legitimate Mystery Shopping Providers Association, MSPA North America. Companies which are members of the association pay people for various shopping assignments, but they are always reimbursed. That means they get paid after their assignments. They are never paid upfront with checks. They also are never asked to wire money anywhere, period.

Legitimate shopping assignments can be found on the MSPA website. Click the link to learn more.

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