Beware of ‘Mystery Shopper’ seasonal job scam

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Scam Alert
Scam Alert

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentuckians looking to make extra money in time for the Christmas season need to watch out for seasonal employment scams, according to Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Beshear said his office issued a scam alert Wednesday after receiving multiple reports from Kentuckians who said they responded to a seasonal mystery shopper job advertisement that turned out to be a scam. A resident in Scott County reported losing $2,000 to the scam this week.

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While there are reputable companies that do hire mystery shoppers Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection recommends avoiding any ad, email or website that requires an advance payment to gain access to information on how to become a mystery shopper.

“Legitimate companies do not require you to make an advance payment to obtain employment as a mystery shopper,” Beshear said. “Kentuckians must always remain vigilant about scams, especially job scams during the Christmas season when con artists are looking to take advantage of hard working Kentuckians.”

Beshear recommends that Kentuckians research and verify all job listings and cautions job seekers to watch for these red flags often associated with a variety of employment scams:

  • Asked to wire money.
    If your first task requires you to use your personal bank account to cash a check, withdraw cash and complete a wire transfer you are most likely being scammed.
  • Sounds too good to be true.
    Watch for job postings that promise a high salary to work from home and require little experience. Also, be suspicious if you receive a job offer without completing an in-person or telephone interview.
  • Immediately asked to provide personal or financial information.
    Job seekers are often asked to provide Social Security numbers and other personal and financial information as part of the hiring process. Take extra time to verify a company and application before providing sensitive data.

To sign up to receive Scam Alerts text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.

To report a scam contact the Office of Attorney General at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.