GREENSBORO, NC -- This time of year, really any time of year, extra money sounds good.
And that's exactly what schemers and con-artists are hoping for.
We've received several emails and phone calls wanting to know if the secret shopper or mystery shopper job offers were real.
While there are secret shopper programs on the up-and-up, the Better Business Bureau says chances that you get an out-of-the-blue email or letter from a legitimate company are slim to none.
"Those legitimate mystery shopper opportunities have a formal vetting process and formal interview process because they want to make sure the folks they hire are actually going to do the job there being paid for, " says BBB's Kevin Hinterberger.
That's right, a legit secret shopper program won't have a letter addressed to "esteemed shopper".
If they're going to pay you, they'll know your name.
The letter itself can be another red flag!
Kevin pointed out some of the things that caught his eye on the letter.
"Here they have an amount, $3,380. There's a comma here and not a comma at the next time they have it listed."
There are capitalization and spelling issues. And the language "I await a prompt assignment completion", who says that?
Another red flag.
"It is very appealing to some folks who want to make some extra cash around the holidays. In their view this is a great opportunity for them to make some extra cash. Was not terribly difficult work for them to do and they were going to get paid very well. If it's too good to be true it probably is."
The final red flag, may be the thing that gets you the most excited, the check itself!
Kevin confirms a big check before you do any work is a huge red flag.
Don't wire or send any money or give anyone your banking information without being sure of who they are first.