9Wants to Know: Denver woman loses $11,000 through old scam

5:53 PM, Mar 24, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - It's been around for decades, but the secret shopper scam continues to lure and fool seniors into believing an easy job opportunity will help them pay the bills. 

"I can't even sleep at night. I'm not able to eat as much," said a woman who only wants to be identified at Stephanie. She told 9Wants to Know she lost $11,000 through the scam that first came as a believable advertisement through email.

"And not only did it fool me, it fooled the bank, and everyone else," Stephanie said.

A man who claimed to be with Walmart instructed Stephanie to test out the MoneyGram service at local stores. The man who called himself "Walter" sent her ten money orders at $975.00.

Stephanie was instructed to deposit the money orders into her own account, withdraw the money, and then send most of it through MoneyGram back to Walter.

It took several days for the Stephanie's bank to find out the money orders were counterfeit. She ended up responsible for the $11,000.

The AARP that runs ElderWatch, a program that alerts seniors about scams, told 9Wants to Know the mystery shopper scam continues to target seniors.

"Anytime someone is asking you to pay money upfront, it's a huge red flag," Beau Ballinger with ElderWatch said.

Stephanie hopes others will learn from her story.

"It's a bad experience," she said. "I wouldn't want my first enemy to have this problem like I do."

If you believe you've been scammed and need help you can call ElderWatch (http://hotline.aarpelderwatch.org/public/home.html) at 1-800-222-4444.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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