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Las Vegas woman almost falls for bogus secret shopper job offer

Posted: 7:10 AM, Aug 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 17:46:30-05

A little extra cash in your pocket is always nice. You may have come across those offers to be a secret shopper. Some of them are legit. But one Las Vegas woman was nearly duped by one opportunity that proved too good to be true. 13 Consumer Advocate Tricia Kean has a warning for you.

"It seems pretty legitimate," says Melissa Di Cello.

She says it's an offer she couldn't refuse. She recently received an e-mail from smith's, about a position as a secret shopper.

"Being a stay at home mom I was like, I like having a little bit of cash in my wallet," says Melissa.

So she sent them her information, and they sent a package, along with a check.

"The check was for $2,850, and it says congratulations on your achievement," says Melissa.

She was told to keep $400 for herself. She was instructed to use the rest, to buy an ebay gift card from her local Smith's or from a list of competitors.

"I had to go to the store. I had to know what the name of the store was. The address of the store. The time and date that I visited the store," says Melissa.

But when she told her mom about her new job, her mom decided to do a quick online search.

"So she puts the routing number and she's like, that's not the routing number for this bank," says Melissa.

That's when Melissa realized the check is a fake. So she reached out to 13 Action News, hoping to warn others.

"There may be somebody out there who really needs the money, and they're going to get duped," says Melissa.

Contact 13 reached out to Smith's, and they confirm it's a scam. In a statement they warn, customers should contact a local store to verify any possibly fraudulent activity. And when we took a look at the check for ourselves, we were able to uncover hidden "void" marks.

"I really just didn't think that it was a scam at first," says Melissa.

To avoid being a victim, the Southern Nevada Better Business Bureau says, be suspicious of anyone willing to pay you up front.

"Nobody's going to pay you in advance for services not rendered," says Rhonda Mettler of the BBB.

And if you think an early paycheck is real, take the proper steps to protect yourself.

"Don't deposit that check. Take it to your bank and ask them to confirm if it's a valid check or not," says Mettler.

Remember if a check is fake, you'll be expected to replace any money you spent.
The Contact 13 bottom line: you can't be too safe.

"You have to do your research first, before you do business with any company," says Mettler.

If you've been the target of a similar scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission and the BBB .