Darien woman scammed out of $4,400
A Hoyt Street resident reported being the victim of a secret-shopper scam on Tuesday, June 29.
The woman said she signed up for a work-from-home position with the company Secret Shopper, under the assumption that she would be making unannounced inspections at retail establishments, according to Darien Police Capt. Fred Komm.
On Monday, June 21, she received an e-mail from a man claiming to be Eric Jones, which detailed her first assignment, police said. The e-mail stated that she would be receiving a UPS package from Ft. Pierce, Fla., containing two money orders, for $835 each, according to the report. She was instructed to use the money orders to conduct evaluations at Wal-Mart and Western Union, spending $50 at Wal-Mart, keeping $200 for herself, and forwarding a balance of $1,295 to a man named Billy Mac Lewis in Lumberton, N.C., police said.
She deposited the money in her bank account and completed the tasks and wire transfers as instructed, according to police.
On Monday, June 28, she received a second package, containing four additional money orders, each worth $835, police said. This time, she was told to spend $100 at Wal-Mart, kept $200 and forward the $2,790 balance to Lewis in North Carolina, Komm said. "Any time you get a situation where you're instructed to return funds, you know it's bogus," Komm said Tuesday.
She did as she was directed, police said. It was later determined that the money orders were fraudulent, according to the report. She was scammed of a total of $4,410, Komm said.
When she tried to contact the people she had been corresponding with, she was unable to reach them, according to the report.