Recently, United Heritage Credit Union became aware of individuals receiving fraudulent Official Checks containing the UHCU name and logo in the mail along with a pamphlet instructing the recipient to participate in a “Secret Shopper” program. The instructions require the recipient to deposit the check, purchase gift cards, and send confirmation of the purchase by revealing the gift card redemption codes to the fraudster. Finally, the shopper is required to take a survey describing their experience. By the time the check returns unpaid in this scam, the scammer has redeemed the value of gift card, and the shopper is left with a $0 gift card balance and an unpaid check. The Federal Trade Commission
warns about these fake checks being related to mystery shopper scams along with additional information about other common scams to avoid. United Heritage Credit Union is not affiliated with any mystery or secret shopper program, and has not issued official checks related to secret shopper assignments. If you receive an unsolicited Official Check from United Heritage Credit Union, please verify the check by calling 512.435.4545, 903.597.7484 or 800.531.2328.
Mystery or Secret Shopper programs can be a fun way to make extra cash, but beware of scams. Among the multiple scams related to mystery shopping classified ads, job assignments, or mailings, fake checks are commonly used to steal money from people. In a fake check scam, counterfeit checks are delivered via mail or email to the secret shopper candidate along with instructions directing him/her to negotiate the check and send money back to the scammer. The check is then returned unpaid, leaving the secret shopper on the hook for the full amount of the money that was sent. The first tip provided in the Federal Trade Commission’s warning of Secret Shopper Scams
, is that you should NOT pay to be a secret shopper. This includes paying money back to the so-called employer.
Sample of sender information and fraudulent letter:
Once again, if you receive an unexpected/unsolicited United Heritage Credit Union Official Check, please verify the check by calling 512.435.4545