Beware of secret shopper scams

DATE:  February 19, 2019

TO: All Students

FROM: Shawn Belling, Chief Information Officer (interim)

RE: Secret Shopper Email Phishing Scam

Throughout the past week, Madison College’s Technology Services department and the UW Credit Union have heard reports of students who have been targeted in a 'secret shopper' scam. We don't want any students to be victimized by this type of activity. Here are the common 'red flags' for this financial scam:

  • You, the student, receive a solicitation via your Madison College email
  • The so-called 'job' involves you being a secret shopper, completing surveys and/or buying iTunes gift cards
  • You, the student, are then told you will receive an out of state cashier’s check in the amount of $2,985. These checks are fraudulent and worthless.
  • The end game of this scam, is to have you, the victim of the scam, send money to the originator of the scam. This leaves you, the student, with the loss of any money you sent the scam originator from your bank or credit union.

In most cases, if something sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Scammers of this nature leverage our emotional reactions that can cloud rational thinking. Contact the Madison College Help Desk at 608.246.6666 if you are uncertain whether an email is a scam.  


Published February 20, 2019. Updated February 22, 2019.