Mom falls for secret shopper scam

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PHOENIX -- 3 On Your Side has a warning about a scam that just won't go away.

You look at a scam like this and you say, "No one will fall for that."

But we live in desperate times. People are out of work, they're losing their homes, they need money. Then, out of nowhere, you get a job offer as a secret shopper.

Rebecca Hulen has three kids and says she can't afford to work outside of the home because daycare is just too expensive.

So Hulen filled out some online surveys to make a few bucks here and there and even entered multiple sweepstakes -- anything to help her family out.

"I was desperate, so I was doing anything to see what was real and I just got a letter in the mail," Hulen said.

The letter was a job offer as a secret shopper and with the letter was a check for $4,000.

Her job? Simply deposit the check into her bank account then go to a Western Union office and evaluate Western Union's customer service by wiring $3,600 back to the company that hired her. The remaining $400 she could keep for her time.

It sounded too good to be true.

"The whole thing was $400 a job and I thought 'what's the catch?" Hulen said. "And they said, 'Well, you can only do three [evaluations] a month."

So, Hulen says she deposited the check and performed her first evaluation at Western Union by wiring $3,600 to her new employer.

But days later, Hulen got a phone call from her bank.

"After I sent the money, the bank called me back and told me that there had been a fraudulent check deposited into my account and I needed to come in and talk with someone," she said.

But remember, Hulen had already wired $3,600 -- money she will never see again.

"With these sorts of things you kind of convince yourself no, no, it's not a scam, they're wrong and then you feel really, really stupid for falling for it," she said.

I've done this story before, but I probably get one or two e-mails a week from people who fall victim to the secret shopper scam so it was certainly time to remind everyone again to not fall for it.