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Blessing and a Curse

Social media a blessing and a curse.  Most people use some sort of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.  One of those platforms, LinkedIn, is directed at the professional world.  Business connections, career opportunities and sales leads are good uses of this social media platform.  I have made some great connections and business opportunities with LinkedIn, however there can be a downside.  Recently a LinkedIn member received an opportunity via a connection to be a secret shopper and all they had to do was purchase Walmart gift cards.  The Linkedin member was sent a check for $1,500 from Cube Survey to purchase the gift cards and the instructions included sending a picture of the gift cards with the code scratched off.  The check received turned out to be fake and the message sent via LinkedIn was deleted from messages. 

Better Business Bureau issued an alert on Cube Survey’s in April 2018.  The BBB investigation noted that Cube Survey was not licensed to do business in the state of Hawaii and that the post office box listed in Honolulu does not exist.

In 2018 the secret shopper / employment scam was number one for the riskiest scam.  Gift cards are high on the list of scamming, because as soon as the scammer has the information it is used and now the transaction is untraceable.

How to avoid these types of scams:

Check with your local Better Business Bureau website for tips. http://www.bbb.org

If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is, however secret shopper jobs do exist and are sanctioned by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) http://mspa-global.org/

Always be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service rep. Positions that don’t require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads. If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company’s job page to see if the position is posted there. Look online; if the job comes up in other cities with the exact same post, it’s likely a scam. 

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.

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Written by Roseann Freitas

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