Scam Alert: BBB South Texas warns of secret shopper scams in mail

6 months 6 days 7 hours ago Wednesday, July 14 2021 Jul 14, 2021 July 14, 2021 7:42 AM July 14, 2021 in News - Local

A new warning about a scam that could be sitting in your mailbox.

Thelma Longoria received an envelope in the mail, and inside was what look 's like a cashier's check for $2,450.

There was also a letter listing step-by-step how she could make up to $450 as a secret shopper.

"As I read the directions and I saw the check, I was like, 'This is too good to be true,'" Longoria said. 

All Longoria would have to do is deposit the check in her bank account and then purchase $2,000 worth of gift cards at Target and Best Buy. Then once she's done, she would take a picture of the gift cards and text them to a number listed on the letter. 

"If I have the $2,500 in my account, the bank is going to give me the money," Longoria said.

But here's the caveat.

"Let's say a month later the bank finds out that the check is fake," said Hilda Martinez, interim president of the Better Business Bureau South Texas region. "The consumer is still liable and it is their responsibility to pay that money back to the bank."

Martinez says even though the check has a routing number and the name of the person who paid for the cashier's check,  there's no telling if the check is real. The bank listed on the check, First Merchants Bank, is a real bank, but it's not located in Texas.

"The way the check is being mailed out, it looks so official, it look so legitimate," Martinez said.

Martinez says this "check-in-the-mail" scheme is common Valley wide, adding that no business will ask you to deposit or withdraw money from your bank account orr require you to send them money in the form of gift cards.

Longoria was able to spot the red flags early on and she wants others to be aware.

"I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one in the area that's receiving this type of job offer and anybody can easily fall for it," Longoria said. 

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