TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Tangela Keahey says she got a letter from a company called J International Inc. saying she has been selected for a quality control program where she could shop at places like Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, Sears and Best Buy.
The letter says she would have to deposit the check for $1,991, given in the letter, into her bank account. She could keep $350, withdraw the rest and start shopping. The letter also said she could keep what she bought.
"It had the fingerprint stuff on the back. I thought it was authentic," said Keahey. "It actually looks like a check that I get from my employer. It looks real."
Keahey says she grew suspicious when she had to scan all receipts from her purchase and send them to the company for verification purposes.
"I Googled it and the company never came up," said Keahey. "I was trying to see if the company had any reviews. No, the company did not exist at all."
Dick Eppsteine of the Better Business Bureau says his office gets complaints about secret shopper programs just like this every day. He says they are almost always scams.
"And then a week later, 10 days later, the bank calls you up, the check you deposited was counterfeit. It was worthless," said Eppsteine.
Eppsteine says these scams are especially bad because they target any age.
Keahey says fortunately she didn't take the bait.
"It's a lot going on in the world right now. Poverty, I mean, it's just, it's hard times and it's not right for people to try to take advantage of anyone. I don't think that's right," said Keahey.
The Better Business Bureau says legitimate secret shopper jobs are rare and only pay about $3 an hour.