SCAMwatch and South Australian Police are warning Australian job hunters to be wary of a mystery shopper job scam.

If you see a mystery shopper job ad in the employment section of your local newspaper be wary, it may be a scam.

Applicants are asked to send their CV to an overseas e-mail address, often in the UK. After doing so, they are sent American Express travellers' cheques in U.S. dollars, European dollars, or British pounds. Similar scams may also involve bank cheques or money orders.

The cheques, which are often forgeries, will be for a round sum of money such as $1000 or $2000.

Recruits are told to cash the cheques at financial institutions and take a percentage as a wage or commission. They are then asked to transfer the remaining cash overseas.

If you have replied to a mystery shopper job scam and have been sent travellers cheques, do NOT cash them as you may be committing an offence. If you get further emails from the scammer pressuring you to cash the cheques don’t respond. Delete their emails.

SCAMwatch has also received reports of this scam being initiated by spam email.

Protect yourself

  • Offers that involve transferring money for someone you don’t know are nearly always a scam—never agree to them.
  • Don’t trust the legitimacy of a job ad just because it appears in a reputable newspaper or job website—scammers often use these media.
  • If you aren’t sure whether an ad is authentic, do an internet search using the exact wording in the ad. Many well-known scams can be found this way.
  • Do not respond to the ad, if you receive cheques and cash them you may be committing an offence such as money laundering.
  • Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: the only people who make money are the scammers.


You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.

More information

For more information about how you can protect yourself, check out the following SCAMwatch pages:

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Jobs and employment scams deceive you into handing over your money by offering you a ‘guaranteed’ way to make fast money or a high-paying job for little effort.