The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Beware - Mystery Shopper scam circulating

13 September 2010

Internal Affairs’ Anti-Spam Compliance Unit warns of a fake Mystery Shopper job offer advertised recently in the Howick & Pakuranga Times newspaper by a scammer operating as ‘Andrea J. Gilfoyle’, Hiring Manager from Christchurch.

Anti-Spam Senior Investigator Toni Demetriou says several people responded to the advertisement by email and were sent fraudulent American Express traveller’s cheques in the mail.

“Anyone who replied to the advertisement and received an email from the scammer is encouraged to lodge a complaint through our Spam Complaints web page,” Mr Demetriou said. “The more complaints we receive, the more analysis and exposure we can give to the problem.

“If the email messages are commercial in nature they fall under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007. If they assist or enable a person to obtain a financial advantage or gain from another person we would be in a position to investigate the origin or source of the emails.”

A similar Mystery Shopper scam involving counterfeit traveller’s cheques has been circulating in Hawke’s Bay. Anyone who received traveller’s cheques in the post was advised in the local newspaper to contact their local police station.

Mr Demetriou says scammers will do anything to rip people off.

“It's important to be aware of the different kinds of scams circulating. Genuine mystery shopper companies do not recruit by sending unsolicited emails or letters,” Mr Demetriou said. “You need to register with the store of interest, provide a profile and they will contact you when work is available.

“A genuine offer will not involve you paying them to join, or them sending you a cheque for you to deposit some money in your bank account and send the rest through a Western Union account.”

Further information can be found on our website:

Media contact:
Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679