CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (CBS) — An old scam is making the rounds of email inboxes, and police in Crystal Lake say some residents have become victims.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the scam often crops up during the holiday shopping season – unsolicited e-mails promising cash for secret shoppers.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

People are offered cash to rate their shopping experiences at certain businesses – in the latest case, the unlikely shopping destination of Western Union.

If the consumers bite and sign up, they are set a bogus $1,000 money order, which they are told to deposit in a personal account. The secret shopper is told to keep 200, and go to Western Union and wire the rest to a list of specified people.

The scammer goes to Western Union to collect the cash, and days pass before the scam victim realizes the money order was a fake, and his bank account is $800 in the hole.

Crystal Lake police say you should remember to be leery of any opportunity that requires you to pay for the privilege of working, and never wire money to a stranger.

It is also recommended that you run a search on the company that has made you a job offer before performing any assignments, police say.

Police also are reminding us of that old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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