LinkedIn is the Facebook of the professional world. The website claims to have more than 500 million users. These users hope to network and advance their careers. What they do not expect is to be scammed out of their money.
That’s what almost happened to Tampa realtor, Carroll Couri.
“I think it was very clever, because the only thing that even made me stop and read it was because it came from someone I knew,” said Couri.
She received a message on LinkedIn from what she believed was her friend.
“[The message] said this is great part time income, you should look into it. And she’s a fellow realtor so I thought, chances are she looked into something,” said Couri.
Couri was told the job was to be a secret shopper. She received a $3,000 check in the mail. After doing research, the check was from a bank that doesn’t exist. The scammer told her to go buy a certain amount of Apple Store and Target gift cards, and she could keep the leftover money.
“He said, ‘did you get the check’ and I said yeah. Then he said he wanted me to deposit it,” said Couri. The scammer was constantly pushing her to deposit the fraudulent check. Thankfully, she never did and she says the only place she plans on taking it to, is the Sheriff’s Office.
When we went to do the story with Couri, we tried calling the number that has repeatedly called and texted her. It was no longer a working number.
When scammers mail a possible victim a fraudulent check, and they go to cash it, most banks initially accept the check, and the funds appear to be available. Eventually, the check bounces and the money is gone. While it may sound far-fetched, these “secret shopper scams” really work on some people.
The Better Business Bureau is reporting an increase in similar scams. They all pose as fake LinkedIn connections asking the user to be a secret shopper, and spend $3,000. One report even states that the check was mailed out of Florida.