WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Saturday, a resident alerted the Watervliet Police Department of a potential internet scam.
Police say the resident signed up for an online “secret shopper research survey” that involved the participant receiving a fake check in the mail along with detailed instructions on how to complete the survey. Participants are said to be guaranteed a $400 compensation for completing the survey.
Police say participants are first introduced to deposit the fake check into their personal bank account, then told they are evaluating local Wal-Mart stores by purchasing a number of gift cards. Contact information is given to participants to obtain further instructions telling them where to send the purchased gift cards.
The Watervliet Police Department would like to warn residents that scams such as this one are very common and can appear in many forms. Many originate from a phone call, email, or online advertisement.
Police say if an email or internet ad seems odd or “too good to be true,” it usually is. Warning signs can include unsecured websites, payments involving gift cards, the promise of monetary prize, spelling/font errors in emails or advertisements, emails from unknown sources etc.
If you believe you have been victimized by a fake scam, police say you should contact local law enforcement immediately. If you believe your banking information may have been compromised, you should immediately contact your bank to put a hold on any accounts and flag and unfamiliar purchases. If you believe any of your personal information such as your social security number have been compromise, you should contact the Social Security Administration as soon as possible.