The Bermuda Police Service (BPS) sent out yet another advisory on another secret shopper scam on Thursday, but this time it is being circulated not only on Facebook but on WhatsApp and via emails.
A police spokesman said: “In the mystery shopper scam, persons are invited to sign up for employment as a secret shopper by fake research companies and enticed by the opportunity of earning money for evaluating local shops. In the latest version, persons have been given instructions to check out businesses to ensure they are adhering to Covid-19 guidelines.
“Persons who respond to the offer are asked to open up a Butterfield Bank account or, asked for account information if they already have one.
“They will then receive deposits of between $1,500 and $5,000 into their personal bank account and are informed that they are allowed to keep a portion as payment for their mystery shopper services.
“Please be aware that this money is often stolen or, criminally obtained. Lately, scammers have been accessing local bank accounts and stealing funds to deposit into accounts of anyone who responds to the secret shopper offer. Anyone deceived by this scam are unknowingly being used to launder criminal proceeds.
“The public should be suspicious of any messages received from survey and research companies, particularly ‘LOTUS Survey’ and ‘Research LLC and Studebaker Survey Research Group LLC’, although, the name of the company may vary.:
“Other tell-tale signs of this scam are as follows:
- Recruiters send cash immediately
- You are asked to buy gift cards with majority of the money
- You are told to keep about $450 as pay
- You are asked to scratch the coating off the gift card to show the PIN code
- You are asked to send pictures of the card’s front and back to the recruiter
Inspector Derricka Burns of the Specialist Crime Unit advised: “Should you be approached to do these things, be aware, it is a scam. We urge that should you receive such an offer, do not respond.
“Local banks are already vigilant for this suspicious activity and are likely to freeze the assets of any account found to be involved in the mystery shopper scam.”
“Any incidents of suspected fraud should be reported to the Financial Crime Unit on telephone number 247-1757 or, via the e-mail address Group-FCU@bps.bm.”