Growing Scheme Takes Aim at Kroger, Target and Walmart Shoppers

It’s a scheme that’s claiming victims across the country.

We’ve heard from a teacher, a retiree and a stay at home mom looking for a side job.

They thought they were signing up for mystery shopping jobs, but ended up losing hundreds of dollars.

Here’s how people are getting tricked according to the Federal Trade Commission:

You get a check in the mail with a job offer as a secret shopper.  You deposit the check and see the funds in your account a few days later, and the bank even tells you the check has cleared.

Now you’re off to the store you’ve been asked to shop at and report back on.

Your first assignment: buy gift cards.

You’re instructed to send pictures of the cards or to give the numbers on the cards.

Fast forward days or weeks to the unhappy ending. The bank finds out the check you deposited is a fake, which means you’re on the hook for all that money.

This is exactly what happened to a teacher in Plano. But a consumer in Euless didn’t see that story and wasn’t familiar with the scheme.

So when he got an email about a secret shopper assignment at Kroger, he was pretty excited.

A few days later, he got a letter in the mail asking him to evaluate not just Kroger, but also Walmart and Target as a bonus.

The packet also included a check for $1,900.

He was to deposit the check, buy $1,550 worth of gift cards and keep the rest of the money as his payment.

Next, he was to evaluate each store he visited, rate the customer service and send pictures of the back of each gift card.

Something just didn’t feel right, so he called us to find out if this assignment was legitimate or a set up.

You may be sitting at home thinking, how could anyone come close to falling for this.

It's happening enough for the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau to issue warnings to the public about it.

So, if you ever get an email or letter like this, report it or throw it away.

Kroger told us they have their own internal shopping program and would never solicit any shopping partner in this fashion.

Target said this is not a legitimate program.

We haven’t heard back from Walmart.

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