Scam alert: Police warn of bogus “Secret Shopper” mail

Vinton Police are warning about bogus “Secret Shopper” checks that are arriving at many homes through the mail. It is a scam, and police say if you follow the instructions, you will be out a lot of money.

News release: The Vinton Police Department has discovered a check scam targeting  residents in the Roanoke Valley. Potential victims are being mailed a fraudulent “Cashier’s Check” via the United States Postal Service-Priority Mail. In the most recent case, the check is drawn on a fictitious account from Lyon County State Bank of Emporia, Kansas. The printing of the check is very well done, and it appears to be a legitimate check. However, the checks are, of course, fictitious. The scam is presented as a “Secret Shopper” promotion for Kroger, Wal-Mart, and Western Union. The instructions encourage the victim to deposit the check in the victim’s personal bank account. Then the victim is to “evaluate” the money wiring services of above businesses by sending $1,200.00 to two “Receivers” who are conducting the “Secret Shopper” program. The victim is then instructed to “keep” $300 for conducting the transactions. The check, of course, will later be determined to be fictitious and the victim will then be  financially responsible for the wired funds. Citizens are reminded to research promotions such as “Secret Shopper” offers before responding to these solicitations. Scams can be quickly discovered by keyword searches online, by contacting the Better Business Bureau, or by contacting your local police department. Happy Holidays from “Your Vinton Police Department!”

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