Chesterfield woman falls for secret shopper scam

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A Chesterfield woman fell for a secret shopper scam and owed her credit union thousands, but tonight, she has all her money back: nearly $5,000!

How Kathy Jones got all her money back is inexplicable. Although she attributes divine intervention because usually, scams like this, don't end this way.

"[The money] is all here. It's all here. It's a beautiful thing," said Kathy Jones.

Had the scam worked, Kathy Jones would be empty handed struggling to repay her credit union all that money. For some reason the crooks never picked up the money she wired to a Western Union in Philadelphia, three months ago.

"I cannot believe it. This is a miracle. And I thank God for it," she said.

Kathy answered a scam e-mail thinking she got a job as a secret shopper. The company sent her a fraudulent cashier's check, told her to cash it, and keep part as payment for her first job which was to evaluate customer service at Western Union, as she wired the balance -- $4,680 to another secret shopper. Kathy did. But something must have scared the scammer. A Richmond detective found out about the untouched money and immediately told Kathy to cancel the Western Union wire transfer.

"Sure enough the money had not been picked up. No one picked up the money since January 7th. It was just sitting there," Kathy explained.

Before the great ending Kathy took a beating online and in the office from people bashing her for poor judgment and looking for a bailout from the Virginia Credit Union.

"Some people thought I was trying to get out of paying the debt and that was never the case," Kathy said.

Others applauded her for putting pride aside and speaking out.

Kathy Jones: "I hope I helped somebody. I hope I did. That was my only intent."
Diane Walker: "I think you did because the next day after the story ran. I got an email from a lady who said, I got one, and now I know it's a scam."
Kathy Jones: "That is awesome and that is all I really was trying to do."

She's able to pay back the credit union and leave with a tip, just because your credit union or bank accepts a cashier's check, doesn't mean it's authentic.

"I'm taking it straight to the Virginia Credit Union first think in the morning," Kathy said. "I'm just so grateful."

Kathy has special thanks to the Richmond Police Department and says she would not have gotten her money back, without them. Meantime, the crooks haven't been caught and probably moved on to other potential victims.

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