Don't Fall for This Walmart Mystery Shopper Scam

Watch out for fraudulent offers to get paid to shop at the nation's biggest retailer.

When Janelle Martin and her husband, James, recently received a check for $1,991.62 that appeared to be from Walmart, her jaw dropped. “That’s an awful lot of money to receive in the mail,” she says. But her excitement quickly faded to skepticism when she read the letter that accompanied the check.

The letter asked them to register the check they received online, then deposit it in their bank account and use some of the money to complete a mystery shopping assignment. Although there are legitimate mystery shopping opportunities, the Martins were seeing red flags. The check supposedly was issued by Wachovia, which was bought by Wells Fargo in 2008 and no longer offers accounts under the Wachovia name. And a little searching on the Internet by the Martins turned up complaints about similar checks and letters.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.