Saint John police warn of mystery shopper, dating scams

The Saint John Police Force is warning residents about two internet scams being used to defraud people of money.

The Saint John Police Force is warning residents about two internet scams being used to defraud people of money.

The so-called mystery shopper scam continues to victimize Saint John-area residents, Sgt. Jay Henderson stated in a release.

The victim answers an ad to become a mystery shopper. The purported employer sends the victim a letter, with mystery shopping tasks to be completed, along with a cheque to help the victim fulfill his or her mystery shopping tasks, said Henderson.

The victim cashes the cheque and one of the assigned tasks is to use a money transfer company to wire a large portion of the money to a name provided, in order to test the company's procedure and customer service skills, he said.

The victim will find out later the cheque is counterfeit, thereby making him or her accountable to pay for the funds wired, Henderson said.

Never send money to strangers

Online dating sites are also being used to scam Saint John-area residents by appealing to their romantic or compassionate side, he said.

Even on a legitimate dating site, victims may be approached by someone who claims to have a sick family member or a loved one who is in the depths of despair, said Henderson.

After exchanging a few messages, the scammer will ask the victim to send them money to help, he said.

People should never send money, give credit card or online account details to anyone they have never met in person, Henderson stressed.

Anyone who suspects he or she may have fallen victim to such a scam, or may have information about the scams is urged to contact the Saint John police or Crime Stoppers.