(February 14, 2012) — The Cadiz Police Department is investigating a scam involving a secret shopper scenario.
Victims receive a letter from WVAS Merchandise Basics telling them they have been selected to be a Consumer Service Evaluator (secret shopper) at selected retail outlets. The victim is sent a check or money order for around $2,000 and instructed to deposit it into their personal bank account to cover the costs of purchasing merchandise through the program. Once the money is deposited, the victim is told to send them around $1,500 back through a Western Union money order.
The bank notified the victim that the check was counterfeit, but not before they had wired the $1,500. In addition, the victim made a $57 purchase as part of the secret shopper program as instructed and was responsible for that purchase also.
In this local case, the company letterhead included phone numbers with a 502 area code, however, the postmark on the letter was from Spain.
The phone numbers usually ring to an answering machine and are rarely, if ever, answered personally.
The Cadiz Police Department reminds citizens to check the postmark of all mail, and if it asks for money to be sent back to them, to report it to the police. Persons can call the Cadiz Police Department at (270) 522-8369 if they want to verify the validity of any mail offer that involves receiving or sending money.