An independent ATM operator whose company services thousands of machines was recently the victim of a mystery shopper scam. They asked to remain anonymous, but still wanted to warn others about what happened.
The company told RePlay they send out around 500 checks a month to various vendors and customers. Somebody, possibly someone who was issued a check directly, copied it and created fake checks for $1,400 each.
The scammer then posted an ad online enticing people looking for job opportunities as a mystery shopper, sending one of these counterfeit checks to them, telling them to buy two $500 Walmart gift cards to send back to the scammer and keep the extra $400 for themselves.
“I started getting all these checks coming into my bank account for $1,400,” the ATM operator detailed. “Luckily we caught it in time and were able to do a freeze in our bank account. If we hadn’t caught this early, we would have been out at least $11,000, if not more.
“The true victims are these people who thought they were getting an extra $400 for the holidays.”
No word yet on who the scammer could be, but the operator speculated that the check used to create bogus checks could have been lost in the mail, counterfeited by one of their merchants or someone bought the information.
The operator’s advice to fellow ATM owners – do as many ACH transactions as possible and limit or stop sending paper checks, and reconcile your books on a daily basis.