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Thursday, August 07, 2008

'Mystery shopper' check scam on the rise

A "mystery shopper" check-cashing scam targeting the unemployed is on the rise in Canada's capital, Ottawa police say.

Police Sgt. Ron Cooper of the organized fraud unit told the Ottawa Sun advertisements are placed offering people the chance to work from home as mystery shoppers to assess how well private check-cashing companies are performing.

They are given a check to cash and told they can keep a small percentage of the cash, but the checks are fake, Cooper said. The person who cashed the check after their personal identification was recorded is liable for repaying the full amount plus a penalty, Cooper said.

"People are looking for easy jobs, easy money," he said. "There's no way of knowing where the money went."

Cooper told the Sun the top fraud in the city remains identity theft, followed by credit card skimming, overpayment schemes and the bogus check scam.

'Mystery shopper' check scam on the rise

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