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Elaborate ‘Mystery Shopper’ scam targets local Facebook users

Fraudsters targeting local Facebook users with the promise of a ‘Mystery Shopper’ job using stolen money from local bank accounts, have been investigated by the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Cyber fraudsters are targeting users on Facebook sites including GibJobs, Gibwork,  Unemployment Group Gibraltar, and Gibraltar Things for Sale.

Earlier this week, five locals assisted officers from the Economic Crime Unit after money was stolen from their bank accounts.

The “elaborate scam” includes a ‘phishing’ attack in the first phase where money is stolen from local bank accounts followed by a second phase where money is laundered through fake “Mystery Shopper” jobs advertised on local Facebook groups.

Customers reported that they were sent phishing emails which directed them to a fake website where they are asked for their online banking details, including passwords.

In the second phase of the scam, local people fell victim to the Mystery Shopper job adverts published on local Facebook pages that saw money laundered to the fraudsters either through cryptocurrency or bank accounts in other countries.

“When someone applies for a job, they are told that they will be sent money to purchase items as a mystery shopper,” a spokesman for the RGP said.

“They are also asked for their bank details in order that the funds can be transferred.”
“Several thousand pounds are then transferred into the Mystery Shoppers’ accounts and they are asked to buy something costing a few hundred pounds, usually vouchers that can be used online.”

“The shopper is then told to send the vouchers to the fraudsters.”
As a last step, the Mystery Shopper was asked to withdraw the rest of the money in cash and convert this into cryptocurrency and send this to the fraudsters or to transfer the funds to another bank account outside of Gibraltar.

“All the funds used by the shoppers are those that were stolen in the first part of the fraud from the clients of the bank,” the RGP said.
The RGP said it is currently aware that the fraudsters are advertising for

Fraudsters have been targeting locals hiding behind names such as Anna Danikova, Claybel Quinones, Bobby Bennett, and Zoltan Fuller,
“Please be aware that these names may have changed and other names may now be in use,” a spokesman for the RGP said.

“Anyone who has been involved as a Mystery Shopper following a Facebook advertisement is asked to contact the RGP’s Fraud Squad on 20072500.”
“The public are also reminded that this is a crime against the bank’s local customers who may face hardship after having their accounts emptied.”
“Everyone should also remember that, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.”

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