Mullens Police Chief Ray Toler is warning area residents about a mystery shopper scam being operated online.
Toler said police received a complaint from someone"who was scammed for nearly $4,000."
He reported that the incident started when the person applied for a job online and received an email about being earning extra money as a mystery shopper.
"Soon a box arrived with a check for $3780.80 with directions to take the check to the bank, cash it, keep $200, take $50 for gas, then go to a local WalMart store and spend $50," Toler said.
The person was then instructed to send the remaining $3,400 back by Western Union and go online to do a report on WalMart, he explained.
"The bank called and stated the check was a fraud," remarked Toler. "Now the victim faces criminal charges and has to come up with $3780.80 to pay the bank back."
Toler warned possible scam victims to make sure a cashed check clears the bank before attempting to spend any money.
He said his department has received several complaints.
"It it sounds too good, it might be a scam," he stated. "Most of these scammers are overseas or close down and move out before police catch up to them."
Toler also advised the public to beware of driveway scammers.
"Every year, several people get a few buckets of sealer put over some gravel and are charged thousands of dollars for a pavement job," he noted. ""These guys like to target elderly people.
"If you're not sure," he advised, "call the police.
If someone offers to do home repairs, Toler said, ask to see the contractor's permit or call the attorney general's office and find out if the contractor is operating legally.
"Don't lose thousands of dollars when you could have just made a phone call," Toler said.
Contact Toler at 304-294-6666 or Sheriff Randall Aliff at 304-732-8000.