Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anatomy of a Scam - Secret Shoppers

Here's a recent example of a secret shopper scam. Like many scams, this one attempts to lure people who think that accidentally receiving a secret shopper invitation is a way to free money. In the end, it is merely an attempt at identity theft - though it may also involve a fee scam as well!

If the recipient bothers to check who it is from, it purports to come from Dow Chemical, with an email address that is, with a cc to The domain points back to a Betty Prevo, with an email address listing That sounds suspiciously like our david212 address as well. The whois results are below:

Administrative Contact:
Prevo, Betty
1368 X W. Estes Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60626
United States
For those who are interested, that address points to an apartment building in Chicago. Interestingly, Betty Prevo apparently exists and does live in that area in Chicago, but she'd probably be interested to find out that she's running various domains.

Blumail? Well, it's a free email service that, "provides global e-mail accounts, educational content, employment needs, entrepreneurship, networking, story / experience sharing, mentoring and volunteering opportunities to youth and others who are coming online in developing countries." In this case? It's a great place for a scammer to get free email hosting. It's also a well known 419 scam domain. Blumail is a legitimate service, unlike the domain we first looked at.

Now, the actual scam letter:

Hello there,

My Name is David Anderson and I am your group regional Instructor from within the USA.Henceforth you will be working with me on the completion of your Mystery Shopper's Position application. Like you already know, your weekly per assignment is $300:00 Flat for working with us and will come in payments of $300 each per assignment you complete for the company.
Note that the name actually somewhat matches the email address - that's often a missed detail for our scammers.
Your payment would be sent ($300) per assignment , Also the company is in charge of providing you with all expense money for the shopping and other expenses incurred during the course of your assignment.All the tools you will needing would be provided to you with details every week you have an assignment.

JOB Description :
1} When an assignment is given to you,You would be provided with details to execute the assignment and in a timely fashion.
2} You would be asked to visit a company or store in your area and they are mostly our competitors as a secret shopper and shop with them to know more about their sales and stock , cost sales and more details as provided by the company then report back to us with details of whatever transpired a the store. But anything you buy at the shop belongs to you,all we want is an effective/quick job and reports.
Free money, and what sounds like a somewhat reasonable reason why the company would want you to do this. The grammar is even better than most letters of this type.
Before any assignment we would provide you with the resources needed {cash}Mostly our company would send you a check which you can cash and use for the assignment. Included to the check would be your assignment packet .Then we would be providing you details on here. But you follow every single information given to you as a secret shopper .
It starts to fall apart here with lines like "Then we would be providing you details on here".

And now for the meat of the scam:
Full Legal Name :
Full Physical Address :
City :
State :
Zip code :
Nationality :
Home and Cell # :
Present Occupation:

Thank you for reading.
Yours sincerely.
Contact Person: David Anderson
Time: 24 Hours daily by e-mail
And that's the anatomy of a secret shopper scam. A simple way to hook the gullible into providing details for identity theft.

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