(CBS) — It’s a creepy new twist to an old scam: Someone actually shows up to your door.
A local family was alarmed when it happened to them and want others to know about it.
2 Investigator Dave Savini explains how it works.
Jeannine Lombardo thought she was going to do a survey.
“I got a text message saying I had been accepted,” she says. “I’ll get paid $300.”
The same day she signed up, the baby-sitter watching her twins answered a knock on their door and was handed a package with a real tracking number.
“She just thought it was the mailman dropping something off. But the guy was wearing a suit and driving a regular car,” says Jeannine’s husband, Lou Lombardo.
The man dropped off a check for $1,821.
Jeannine was supposed to deposit the $1,821 check into her own account and keep $300. She also was supposed to test Walmart’s customer service by using $50 for shopping and wiring more than $1,400 using Walmart’s money wiring service.
“The money was supposed to go to Timmy Gary in Austin, Texas,” she says.
The Lombardos immediately realized they were being scammed. A couple of days later, another check and letter were in their mailbox. The scam artist tried to get them to deposit two fake checks in less than a week.
Todd Kossow, who heads the local Federal Trade Commission office, explains two checks likely were sent in just a few days in an effort to get the couple to quickly wire money.
“Have them do this twice before the banking system determines that the first one was counterfeit,” Kossow says.
“This is the first time I’ve heard about a mystery shopper scam where somebody appears at your door,” he says. “One of the reasons they may be doing this is because they’re responding to disruption efforts with the bulk mailings.”
He says scam letters sent in bulk from overseas are being increasingly seized.
The Lombardos say it’s easier to ignore fake mystery shopping e-mails and letters, but a lot tougher to deal with when you are sent text messages and someone knocks on your door.
“They are coming right to your front door. It’s like crossing a line, even for a scammer,” Lou Lombardo says. “You know, our kids are there, it’s our house. That’s the most alarming part about this, invasive part about it.”
To be clear, Walmart has nothing to do with this.
If you are targeted in a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission.