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Fargo police warn of 'secret shopper' scam

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FARGO - Police here are warning the public to beware of a "secret shopper" scam that's under investigation.

Sgt. Mark Lykken explained the scam in a news release this morning:

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On April 18, a Fargo woman responded to a Craigslist posting for a customer service job which required her to provide her name and e-mail address.

The victim later received a congratulatory e-mail stating she had been awarded a position as a "secret shopper" and promptly received her first assignment.

The victim received a check through the mail for several thousand dollars with instructions to buy items from a chain store and wire the money to an out-of-state address.

She received another assignment and check for several thousands of dollars. This time she cashed the check but became suspicious and made a report to police. It was later learned that the check was drawn on a closed account.

Lykken reminded the public that Internet scams are extremely difficult to investigate, and in the majority of cases money sent won't be recovered.

If the person scammed is asked to cash a check and send back money, he or she will be responsible for the amount of the check if it's fraudulent, Lykken said.

In scams of this nature, the suspects almost always request that the money be sent to them by "wire," he said. Another indicator that it's a scam is when the "employer" can't be contacted or won't provide information to actually speak with them.

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