Secret shopper scam stopped - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Harrisburg, IL

Secret shopper scam stopped

Secret shopper scam stopped
By: Carly O'Keefe

Harrisburg, IL - A Heartland woman applied for a Secret Shopper job online and discovered a secret scam that could have cost her thousands.

Donna Milligan applied for a secret shopper job online, was called for an interview, and then received a check by mail. Her first task in her new job was to test the customer service at a store by wiring money to a fake relative. It seemed a little fishy to Milligan, so she did some checking.

"I knew there was something wrong because of the time frame they gave me," said Milligan. "And you don't talk to someone one time and then send them a check for $3100."

There were tiny discrepancies in what otherwise seemed legitimate. There was no return address on the envelope, and the name on the check, Michael Murdock, didn't match the signature. If you look closely you can read the name Michell instead.

Milligan called the number listed on the check as the issuing company. A woman on the other end of the line said the check was good and that she should cash it, but Milligan wasn't convinced.

"I just keep digging and searching," said Milligan. "I did get a hold of someone from integrated payment systems."

Meaning, Milligan contacted the actual company--not the number she had called before. The real Integrated Payment Systems told Milligan that the check was a fake. The real check that corresponded with the check number was written for a different amount and cashed back in 2005.

"I would have been in debt $3100," said Milligan.

"That's why they want you to do it quickly, because eventually you will catch on, that's why they're very pushy, they want you to do this quickly," said Deputy Jeff Oestreich of the Saline County Sheriff's Department.

A representative from the supposed Secret Shopper company called Milligan again Tuesday, after KFVS had spoken with her. The woman asked Milligan when she planned to cash the check.

We decided to try to call the number Milligan was given as a contact. We spoke to a woman who called herself Kym Bailey why her company was sending out fraudulent checks. We were hung up on and received no answer.

Unfortunately, Donna Milligan still does not have a job, but she's happy that she's not in debt thanks to her investigative skills. In response to her call, an investigator for the actual Integrated Payment Systems, Inc. told Milligan they plan to do some digging of their own into this scam.

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