Jul 26, 2014
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Winder Police Officer Targeted in 'Mystery Shopper' Scam

The officer received an offer via mail.

Winder Police Officer Targeted in 'Mystery Shopper' Scam

According to the , a "mystery shopper" scam is becoming more widespread — an officer with the department recently received an offer.

Winder Police Officer Joey Lovinggood received a business-style cardboard envelope at the police department’s address sent to him personally by express mail, according to a news release. Upon opening the envelope, Officer Lovinggood found a partially completed money order accompanied with explicit instructions for him to follow.

The instructions were very detailed and instructed him to fill in his name and address as the recipient and also gave an unknown female’s name with an Atlanta address for him to fill in as the sender. The instructions stated the purpose of having him enter the information was so that it could be done without error. The money order was already made out in the amount of $980.

Officer Lovinggood was then instructed to cash the money order at a place of his own choosing and then locate a Western Union and conduct a wire transfer of the cash funds to a different name and address — in the Philippines. As payment for his “services” Officer Lovinggood was told to keep $200 of the original $980, ($300 for his “quickness and efficiency” if he were able to perform all of this on the same day of receiving the letter).

The instructions stated that a “secret” questionnaire would be emailed to him upon completing this task to indicate whether or not he felt the service he received by Western Union was satisfactory. Nowhere in the instructions was Officer Lovinggood asked to submit his e-mail address in order to receive this survey.

The Winder Police Department wants to inform residents that this scam, and others like it, have become problematic not only in Georgia but all across the country. If you, or anyone you know, receive unsolicited material that involves any form of financial transaction you should be on alert and contact local law enforcement officials immediately.

“These criminal cases are usually very hard to investigate appropriately because they most often involve international jurisdictions, as in the example of our own officer’s encounter, with differing and conflicting laws on fraudulent behavior," Winder Police Chief Dennis Dorsey said in the news release. "The best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of these type of crimes is to become an educated consumer by following up to determine the legitimacy of the companies or services involved before using them or by simply avoiding them altogether if they are unsolicited in the first place and appear too good to be true.”

Identity theft is also a common crime.

"People's identities are being used and stolen more than ever," Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith said in a recent e-mail.

to read the sheriffs tips for residents to protect yourself from identity theft.

Have you received a "mystery shopper" offer? What did you do with the information? Tell us in comments.

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