RCMP warns about fraudulent secret shopper job opportunity

The RCMP is warning the public about a fraud targeting people looking for work as secret shoppers, which police say has seen its perpetrators claim a fraudulent connection to the University of Windsor.

The RCMP is warning the public about an online scam with fraudulent links to the University of Windsor.

Police say the scam is linked to job advertisements posted to online sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji, offering people paid work as secret shoppers.

The victims fill out forms to apply for the job opportunity. After that, police say the victims receive notice that a cheque and instructions are coming their way.

A package sent from Iowa then arrives via courier. The victim is instructed to cash the enclosed cheque and wire a portion of the funds to a given person or place through a money-transfer company.

The problem results when the victim discovers the cheque is fraudulent. The victim is then on the hook for the funds that were transferred, police say.

Police say the cheques used in the scam are fraudulently attributed as belonging to a University of Windsor bank account.

RCMP Sgt. Penny Hermann said investigators are aware of at least three packages being sent from Iowa to secret shoppers so far.

"We have no idea how many other packages have gone through," Hermann said in a telephone interview.

Hermann did not have information on the amount of money involved in the approach being made to the victims.

The bottom line is that police are warning people not to fall victim to this scam.

"No legitimate mystery secret-shopper program will send payment in advance and ask the employee to send a portion of it back," said Hermann.

Police are asking anyone who believes they have been a victim of this fraud to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.


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