'Secret shopper' or 'lottery' check scams resurface in Portage

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published:

The Portage County Sheriff's Office is again asking residents to be wary of "secret shopper" scams being perpetrated by phone in recent weeks.

Detective Lt. Greg Johnson said residents are reporting receiving "secret shopper checks" in the mail, or letters declaring they have won the lottery without actually playing it.

The scammers will sometimes ask the victims to cash the check and put the money on a Green Dot MoneyPak prepaid debit card, then ask them to read the card number over the phone. The victim will be out of any money promised them by the scam artist and may even end up responsible to their bank for the money if the check is fraudulent.

"If someone is asking you to put money on a Green Dot card and give them the number over the phone, you need to think twice about what you are getting dragged into," Johnson said.

To report a suspected scam, call the Portage County Sheriff's Office at 330-296-5100, your local law enforcement agency or visit the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

The FBI also keeps track of numerous scams on their website at www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

Facebook: Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Twitter: @RCCrimeWatch

Useful websites:

FBI New E-Scams & Warnings page: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams

Internet Crime Complaint Center: http://www.ic3.gov

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