Beware of These Mystery Shopping Fake Check Scams

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Even though it’s been a while since my car wrap scam posting of 2013, I see that fake check scammers are still going strong.

Yesterday was a “red letter” day for me; I received not one, not two, but three fake checks in my mail box.

Fake check scam #1: Mystery Shoppers Agent

The first fake check scam involves mystery shopping through the company website Mystery Shoppers Agent.

mystery shoppers agent2

At first, I wasn’t sure if this company was also a scam or just caught up in the cross hairs of the scammers’ ploys. You see, when it comes to fake checks, scammers don’t hesitate to “plug” legitimate businesses into the mix. Completely legitimate banks and retailers will appear to be sending cashier’s checks, and USPS or FedEx envelopes will feature actual return addresses.

In the case of Mystery Shoppers Agent, however, the stench of scam was almost immediately apparent. Aside from the site’s broken English, it states that it offers a “Minimum amount for each assignment is $600 USD, payable by check.” Also, on its application page, you find the following statement: “We would like to inform you that you will be handle two assignment per week and the minimum payment for the each assignment will be $600 which make it $1200 every week.”

I’ve been a mystery shopper since 2010; several of my friends have been mystery shoppers for 10+ years now. No one in my immediate group has ever heard of assignments paying $600.

Also, for high-paying assignments of $60 or more, mystery shop assignments came with pages upon pages of instructions. However, read the letter I received and posted below for an assignment that supposedly pays $300:

IMG_3689 (2)

For this “assignment,” you are requesting wire transfers to two individuals living in the Philippines. You are then generating a report about the “customer service professionalism.” No directions are provided on how to generate this report.

But it gets even better- I received not one such letter from Mystery Shoppers Agent, but two! In one day, I found the exact same letters addressed to me and sitting in two identical 2-Day Priority Mail USPS envelopes. Along with those two identical letters were these two identical $3,775 checks:


The same day, I also received the following email from His questions and my replies are posted below.

> Subject: First Task
> From:
> First task is to be delivered to your address today or Tuesday at the latest and your assignment info and instructions would come in the mail along with your salary,please kindly follow the instructions that came in the mail along with your Paycheck…Did you recieve the payment yet?please reply back…thanks

On Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 4:23 PM, Halina Zakowicz wrote:
Yes I did.

did you made the deposit yet and when would u send the funds?

On Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 4:26 PM, Halina Zakowicz wrote:
I deposited the funds this afternoon.

when would u send the funds?

On Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 4:38 PM, Halina Zakowicz wrote:
I’m going to do it later this week. Probably Friday.

why friday?the check would clear tomorrow…so you should send the funds tomorrow please…also,i have been calling you and you didnt pick your calls

What I found interesting was that never during our email interchange did “Jonathan” ask about the actual review that I was hired to complete. No, it was all about sending the money ASAP.

Two days later, Jonathan was texting me about the money. I’ve copied our conversation below and highlighted my answers in green:

Have you completed the assignment. Please reply now


Can I have the details for the assignment the ref no for each name

Hello Why did you stop replying

The first number 65189544

I got the first number. I hope you sent the funds to the new details I sent to your email please ?

I called moneygram. It says the first number is invalid

Sorry about that. Let me check

And why are you not picking up your calls? And what’s the ref no for the second one What’s goingon

Ok, I need to check with moneygram again about those numbers.

You are a liar. Why are you lieing ?

You can’t even pick your calls. You didn’t even send the second number. This is bad of you

Please check this link

Which link

Stupid woman

I’ve also filed this scam with the FTC

I should add that the phone number of this California-based operation is (657) 529-0008. If the “business” is based in California, why are the checks originating from Arkansas? And also, why are the USPS envelopes coming from New York & Company at 2655 Richmond Ave., #1070, NY, NY 10314?

mystery shoppers agent

Fake check scam #2: Walmart Money Transfer

The other fake check scam came to me courtesy of “Joshua Baumfeld” of Secret Shopper. The email that I first received from this Joshua went as follows:

Dear Secret shopper ,

This is an update on Your first secret Shopper assignment which has been mailed and will be delivered  today or latest tomorrow  via USPS.Your secret shopper assignment will be done at any nearest Walmart store close to you,which will include shopping and testing other services available at Walmart.

Instructions on how to proceed and email your first assignment report has  been included along in the packet.

Kindly notify and verify that you have received this email,and also notify via email as soon as you have received the assignment.


Joshua Baumfeld
Head of Recruitment.

About a week later, I received an official-looking 2-Day Priority Mail USPS envelope containing a letter and a $1,680 cashiers check.

Joshua wanted me to deposit this check and then make a “Walmart to Walmart Money Transfer.” I was also supposed to report on such details as “smartness of the attendant(s),” “reaction of personnel under pressure,” and “rudeness and agents inefficiency to customers.”

There are many obvious red flags in this letter, including poor English, sketchy directions and a payment of $200 before I even do my job. Another point of concern is the state (Grenada) and city (Mississippi) names being reversed. Meanwhile, the address on the envelope states that the correspondence is originating from Joshua Baumfeld, 7072 Wnchester (typo included) Rd., Memphis, TN 38125.

Finally, Walmart has stated that it doesn’t engage in any Secret Shopper services.

The entire contents of my letter and check are provided below.



What is the point of these fake check scams?

When you receive a fake check from scammers, the point is to have you deposit that money into your bank account- and then withdraw or wire most of it to the scammers (or their associates). The deposit and withdrawal must be completed within 1-2 days or ASAP.

By doing so, you and your bank won’t catch onto the fact that the check is actually fake and will bounce in roughly 3 days.

By the time your deposited check bounces, the scammers will be long gone, as will your withdrawn or wired funds.

If you don’t yet believe me, please click on the following list of complaints from duped secret shoppers.

The lesson to be (hopefully not) learned here: Don’t fall for these fake check scams.

Bonus: Halina’s fake check collage

I just wanted to show off my assembled collage of fake checks to all our I’ve Tried That readers. In total, I’ve received $21,835 now in fake check money. Woo! Also notice that some of these checks are made out to my cohort Hugh G. Rection. I’m sure my mail carrier was highly amused.




  1. Halina Zakowicz says:

    Hi TBoo,

    Thanks for the comment and story about Milan. Bottom line here: If any company asks you to send money to it or a third party, it’s almost certainly a scam. I post more red flags about these mystery shopping sites at my post here:

    Thank you again for reaching out to us!

  2. The letter starts off:
    Milan Supply Chain Solutions
    P.O. BOX 699
    Milan, TN 38358
    Mystery Shopping, Market Research, Securities, Training & Consulting
    Please contact your assignment co ordinator at
    TEL: 1-868-286-3836 FAX: 470-235-1824
    I received this letter and check for $3,986.50 from a company called Milan Supply Chain Solutions. This check has a heat sensitive lock on the middle of it so at first I’m like WTF that is a lot of money. On the back of the letter is a form you have to fill out that asks questions about the company, how they treat you and their efficiency and you have to fax it to the above number. I tried to call the 1-868 number and my phone directly cut off. There was another number given for further “enquiries” 1-470-274-6691. I called that number and asked the man about why when I called the 1-868 number did my phone hang up. He told me I may have to get a long distance card to call the number. I left it alone but I wanted to know if this job could possibly be real. They don’t ask for account info in the letter or tell you to deposit this check into your account like yours did. I looked up the name of the woman who “signed” the check Gail Spain and she’s real and she works for Milan Supply Chain Solutions. I had no way to contact her though but by creating an account on linkedin, but once I did that, it wouldn’t let me message her because I have to have a premium account with linkedin. So then I looked up the Edmonton address located at the top of the letter and it lead me to a company called Chrysalis. Chrysalis is a company in Canada that provides shelter and food for the needy. The site stated that they provide a home, jobs and many other services to people in need in their community. So then I was like why did they give me an address to a company of a different name. “????” :-/ Then I checked out Milan Supply Chain solutions in TN online and the company is legit but the company is for transporting goods to warehouses. The site is but the letter never stated an internet address. The site said “MILAN is a full-service transportation company. We work with companies that want to build freight velocity, eliminate supply chain frustration and move their business forward.” After that i typed in “milan supply chain solutins in canada” and no results. Well then I tried to see if the companies were connected because maybe they had something to do with transporting goods to or for the Chrysalis company and what do you know, NO RESULTS. Then I came to your site about scams. I reread the letter and it says that “you will be requested a paid training within one week.” It also states “after this training your salary will be increased to $450.00 per week for the first three months. Additional increment of $600 per week will follow after another three months if you choose to stay with us.” “Even though this is a training exercise for you, it should be considered a job interview (in underlined bold letters).” That last statement about “job interview” really hooked me in when I first read the letter. Without even stating in the first week of training what I would be making, all these things raised a alot of red flags for me but not all the ones you’ve raised on this page. The way the letter is worded it didn’t flag to me as a scam but I’m definitely skeptical now. Someone has really stepped their game up because this thing really sounds legit with the exception of the things I learned about it. Someone could really fall for a letter like this. I don’t have a scanner to show you the letter but it is worded very carefully. Maybe you could look into it yourself and see if I missed something as well as maybe registering this as a scam. I don’t know if it is but it sure sounds like it now.
    PS> No internet address or email was given on the letter.
    Thanks, TBoo…

  3. I got one today. The guy that emails me is named arthur something… Got a check for 3,725. The remitter name is James Roche…. The name on the postage says Philip Ziegler…which i find strange because that is my last


    i just recieve the same check for 2875.00 and the bank agent tell me that check its fraud its not a real check

    1. Cary smith says:

      I got the same check for the same amount today and I went to western union and they tell me it’s fake so I contacted the number I was given and this guy was telling me why did I do that I should’ve deposited into my account it would have been easier

  5. I received this also. Should i just rip up the check?

  6. Just got my check for 1,920.00 from Brittany Walker.

    And two persons to send MoneyGram to Tommy Neiderhofer at 161 Oakdale Dr, Huntsville TX 77320
    Richard Frederking at 2617 Roosvelt Ave, San Antonio, TX 78214

    Emails to send confirmation:

    Be aware.

    1. Do i just rip up this check

  7. Hardy Huang says:

    I actually got a check from someone called DiamondPeak Inc, and one of the checks was from a bank called Citizens National Bank, and the check is $1,820. Sounds too good to be true, but what happens if I don’t deposit the check? Should I just rip it?

    1. KB McMahan says:

      Rip it up. My bank cashed 2 never even asking about the large amounts. Now my account is frozen and my bank is taking me to court.

  8. I just got the letter with a check for $2875!! I feel bad,
    because people are getting more money then me!! Ha Ha
    I knew as as soon as I got the check and was told to deposit into my account and send the money to Turkey of all places, it was a scam!! I wrote them a letter and told them what they could do with themselves!! And also said I was reporting them
    to the FTC. You would think after all this time, with so many people reporting this scam, something would have been done to them!

  9. I just received a checked yesterday from an Alfred Konibaje from the Eagle Federal Credit Union in Baton Rouge LA for 1899 as an independent shopper. I am to deposit the check and then call to get the fund released. Then from that fund I am to deduct 200 dollars as my commission+ 29 dollars for processing fees. Send $835 to two different people. Son and so on. I am fit to be tired that people have that kind of time to mess with others trying to steal their information. I know from the minute I opened the envelop, this check was nothing but a joke because I do not have that kind of time with two jobs to go around to money gram wasting nothing but my valuable time. My only hope is that these individuals get caught and be brought to justice for theft.

  10. Cynthia Landrum says:

    Just got mine in mail! Still Jonathaan Daniels but email is and came from Alfred Konibaje 138 Eider Dr, Sanger Tx 76266 check amount $2785 and only transfer to one person Mike Marlon city: Istanbul country: Turkey
    I even received a text lol

    1. Cristina Luna says:

      I also received a check for $2,875.Also from Jonanthan Daniels email whats the steps to take. This is a scam. Cause the check looks real.

  11. Joe in CA says:

    I received something very similar yesterday. My “2 day” USPS, had a ship date of 3-31, with a expected delivery date of 4-2. Hmmm, the first clue here is a 2 Day delivery was only delivered to me on 4-20!!!

    Then everything else seems close to what others described. A check for $1,810, buy something at Kmart, $300 for yourself and send the remainder back in 2 separate moneygrams.

    Envelope came from NY, “cashiers” check was on a bank in MO, send remaining money to 2 different individuals in 2 different cities in TX.

    the letter was very unprofessional. While I am by no means and English major, and I’ll admit my spelling may not always be correct. This unprofessional letter mixed upper and lower case in street and city names.

    Letter came from Richard river in NY,
    Told me to email 2 individuals:, and Both of which are a Time Warner email site, not a business).
    Then send the remainder of the $$ to Alex Villalobos in Richmond, TX, and Jerry Higgins in Allen, TX
    Lastly the actual letter came from Aaron Merriweather in Port Arthur, TX


  13. I just received a check from Johnathan Daniel’s myself for 7520.00. I guess he’s still at it. Anybody know Who to report this too? Please and Thank you

  14. I just received a check in the amount of $7520.00! Jonathan Daniels is upping his ante I guess. I really want to put this scumbag away. How do I complain or where do I send the complaints?

  15. YoungStud(68) says:

    I also received a check for 2875.00. If that rat bastard has the cohones to call or email me I will direct him to the Govn’ers Office of Consumer Affairs.

  16. Hello all, I think Jonathan Daniels is up to it again got a check for2875.00 but he is now using email Be aware!!!

    1. YoungStud(68) says:

      I got the same check from Jonathan Daniels for 2875.00, using What goes around, comes around.

  17. There are still at it says:

    There are at it again please be careful my grandson got a check for $ 1190 and was told to deposit it and return $850.00 to him in texas The Check came from MCU with a PO box in NYC news flash MCU only use address on their checks PO he was suppose to keep $ 350 for himself lol..So check with your bank before you put check into your because is he or she is taking your money.

  18. Same here, I was so fool by I was received 2875 dollar and I thought it was belong to mystery shopper but I was wrong. I hope he get a deserve the punish what he did to all of us!!! And I pray to God.

  19. I got a letter and check saying I was selected to do mystery shopping I was supposed to go buy vanilla gift cards and the rest of money was mine .All I had to do was send # to cards to them my check was from Fidelity bank looked very real the only thing that got my attention was was I was supposed to be regulating the worker in the store it wasn’t about the gift cards so why did I have to purchase the gift cards why didn’t they just send me the check in the amount for the job. This was at a time I needed bad just lost my job beware check is an the amount of 3,753.50 from Fidelity bank signed Glenn brack hope this can help someone not make a big mistake .

  20. I also to make some extra money for Christmas my daughter was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer so I’m not at work as much as I would like to be. I enjoy shopping and always thought I would love to try to become a shopper. Fooled me shame on this loser.

  21. Thank you all, I got the letter and a check for $2875 I thought it was legit I’ve been looking for work with no success so I said let’s try this. He’s been texting me asking me when am going to send him the money. I haven’t deposit it yet and now that I’ve read the comments I won’t thank you all God bless you.

    1. Mary Autrey says:

      I too have gotten caught by Jonathan Daniels. Now I owe my bank nearly 3000 dollars, and I don’t know how I’m going to pay it back. Wish I’d seen this site a little earlier.

  22. Hi, I was just a new victim of this scam. I found a email looking for a secret shopper and the email was from a I received two money orders in the mail for 933.50 each and was shocked at the amount that was sent to me but I didn’t worry too much about it since it was a money order. I deposited it and sent them $1600 in the mail the following week. Needless to say I was scammed! I file a police report already but the banks will require for me to pay it all back! I don’t know what to do! Please advise.

  23. veronica/day an gilbert says:

    What wld happen if u cashed the check not deposited it?

    1. Lisa Stockert says:

      What would Happen? Really?
      Someone, somewhere down the line..who doesnt deserve it, would suffer a loss. Knowing its a scam, would make us lower than the lowlife, scamming asshole that tried to con us!

    2. I asked my bank what would happen if i cashed the check and spent it , they said you would have to pay it back in increments by a certain date.

    3. KB McMahan says:

      No where will cash them. I HAVE tried everywhere.

  24. PAUL KUSHNER says:

    I got one in the mail as well, exactly like the one above, what do I do, send it back?

    1. chandrashekar says:

      Just do not deposit the check.
      If the person calls u about the status, just play with him that u deposited the check,,u have no time to go to walmart/moneygram…

  25. chandrashekar says:

    Even i received a letter mail from this bastard jonathan daniels, He pesters you till you complete the task.
    Finally i lost $ 3500.00.
    My hard earned money got lost. Anybody sue this rascal,,,idiot cut him to pieces and put to street dogs,,,

    1. Halina Zakowicz says:

      Ugh, I’m really sorry to hear that. These scammers are everywhere.

    2. I pray that he is going to jail!!!!

  26. Stephie Andrus says:

    I too have received that exact same letter except for the names of who to send the money too. How dumb can one be to fall for this? This is the second time I have received a letter like this and yet it’s the same email address and phone numbers. Wake up people! Take an active role in your life and pay attention to what you get in the mail. If it seems too good to be true, then 9 times out of 10 it is.

    1. Lisa Stockert says:

      yeah, but they prey on people who are desperate and NEED to believe

    2. I actually did a search how to become a secret shopper and this application came up. I’m sure the loser is on this site reading that he is caught too bad folks do this for extra money or because they can’t find work shame on him!!

  27. I received nearly the exact same thing today. The only difference is the names to send money to, my letter is not in broken english, the return sender on envelopes is a man in Tulsa, Oklahoma yet the cashiers check is from Glendale, CA. My letter states ” go ahead and cash it at your bank or deposit the check in your bank account and wait for it to clear, the check will clear within 24 hours after you have deposited it.”

  28. I just got a few versions of this mystery shopper spam:

    From: MS TEAM® (
    You have been selected for assignment as a Detective Shopper in your area.
    You will get $350 being a Detective Shopper.
    Your employment packet will include funds for the shopping.

    We want you to participate because it’s fun & rewarding. You will have access to training materials.

    As a detective Shopper U work and shop together for pleasure, and You only work 2-3 hours twice in a week. We wait your good response.

  29. Bridget Lopez says:

    the money was also supposed to be sent to the same people in your letter as well. I guess originality bit them on this one!

  30. Bridget Lopez says:

    I also received this scam the mystery shopper one with the same exact letter you have posted above with the same amount of $3775.00 I had received one of these about 4 years ago so I immediately knew that it was a scam. Thanks for posting about it

    1. Bridget Lopez says:

      The check came from a credit union in Pennsylvania and the and it is dated 6/2-/2015 as well. God knows how many other people fell for this. I said what mystery shopper job?! Never applied for one.. no one just sends you money for no reason and before you complete an assignment. Stupid people

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