It has come to our attention that there are individuals using the 360 Relay company name as part of their attempts to scam and defraud mystery shoppers. These cons involve mailing and emailing mystery shoppers information about mystery shop opportunities that involve cashing or depositing a check and/or completing a wire transfer. It appears that the nature of these scams is to provide shoppers with bad checks, asking them to deposit the check and then requesting that they send a portion back to them. As it’s a ‘bad’ check, it will bounce and then the shopper is left on the hook for the outstanding funds. Most often, these scams also include instructions about purchasing gift cards in varying amounts, as part of their attempt to con the shopper out of additional funds.
While the people behind these scams are getting smarter and making their materials look more professional and legitimate, there are still clear red flags within the documentation that should alert you to a scam attempt:
*The return address is always a PO Box, and the name listed on the return address never matches the company they are claiming to be a representative of.
*The logo used on these letters is often a very generic, plain-looking logo featuring the words ‘mystery shopping’, and again, never matches the company name they claim to be a part of.
*The phone numbers listed in the letters are never working numbers; if you attempt to call one of these numbers, you will get a message that their mailbox is full, or that they aren’t set up to receive messages. This is clearly not something a legitimate mystery shop company would allow.
*The email domain that the individual uses in the letter is always something generic such as ‘outlook.com’ or ‘gmail.com’. An actual mystery shop provider will always use their company name in the domain.
The most important thing to remember is that 360 Relay will NEVER require you to deposit or cash a check prior to the completion of a mystery shop assignment. We only issue payments through Venmo or PayPal, AFTER a shop has been successfully completed. You should never provide any of your banking information to anyone claiming to be a mystery shop provider, and you should never pay any mystery shop provider directly. To review other tips for avoiding this type of fraud, we recommend reading our previous post, “How to Avoid Mystery Shop Scams”, where we discuss other red flags that pop up with these scam attempts. It’s a very unfortunate situation that mystery shop providers and mystery shoppers must deal with, but we aim to provide you with as much information as we can about the topic so that you can be alert to any possible scam attempts.
If you ever are unclear about any documentation you have received that you believe to be from 360 Relay, we encourage you to reach out to our Shopper Help Desk either by phone or email; 888.726.1360 or shopperhelpdesk@360-Relay.com. We are staffed 7 days a week, during regular business hours, and are always here to help with matters of this nature or anything else you may have questions about.
If you feel that you are the victim of one of these scams, we recommend reporting the individual(s) to the Federal Trade Commission: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/.