The Scottsdale Police Department has recently received out of state complaints about a prolific money order scam that preys on the elderly and the innocent using a bogus Scottsdale return address. The scam is known among law enforcement circles as the "Mystery Shopper Scam".
Victims of this scam are “hired” to be mystery shoppers, and told that their first assignment is to evaluate a local money transfer service. The shopper receives a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account, withdraw the amount in cash, and wire the majority of the money to a third party while keeping a portion for themselves (payment). The check is a fake and fraudulent. By law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake/fraudulent check can take weeks before it is discovered as such. It may seem that the check has cleared and that the money has posted to the account, but when the check turns out to be a fake/fraudulent check, the person who deposited the check and wired the money (you the victim) will be responsible for paying back the bank. It’s never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back.
Here's some advice to share with friends and family:
NEVER wire-transfer money to anyone for any reason.
If it seems too good to be true than it probably is.
ALWAYS report suspicious or fraudulent solicitations to your local police.