Michigan police warn residents about shopping and gift card scams

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LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich (WLNS) – The Sheriff’s Office is warning the community about a recent attempt to scam a resident using gift cards and a fake job opportunity.

A resident of Livingston County received an email offering them an opportunity to be a “mystery shopper.”

The way the scam works is a fake check is sent to the victim who is asked to deposit it and buy gift cards with a portion of the money.

To make the offer sound worthwhile the victim can “keep” the extra money as payment, but asked to send the gift card information to the unknown person

Since the original check sent is fake, the victim is left spending their own money on gift cards whose number was already given away to be used by the scammer.

A Livingston County MI Sheriff’s Office Facebook post says, “enough people fall for it to make it worth the criminal’s time to try it.”

The way scammers get away with this scam is knowing that by law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks.

The check “clears” because the money has posted to the account, but when the check turns out to be a fake, the person who deposited the check is responsible for paying back the bank.

Gift cards are a popular way for scammers to steal money because gift cards are like cash. If you buy a gift card and someone uses it, you probably cannot get your money back.

If you think you’ve seen a mystery shopping scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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