Consumer Alert: A possible scam offers you a job and then asks you to send them money

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Who doesn't want to make a little extra money on the side? That's why those ads promising big bucks for stuffing envelopes or becoming a mystery shopper seem so enticing. Here's the reality, it might be a scam.

Glen McKechnie, a US Postal Inspector, says, "The payment in this envelope is made out to you in respect of the mystery shopper position you applied for."

Thousands of people are getting letters in the mail promising hundreds of dollars.

McKechnie says, "The person at home may think they have won a lottery or that their prayers have been answered and now they are working from home."

The reality?

McKechnie says, "Unfortunately, behind the letters, behind the advertisements, are scams."

The con artists tell you you'll be either evaluating the quality of service in a store or testing a specific product. The envelope they send usually includes a counterfeit check or money order you're supposed to cash. Next step? Go shopping for the product you'll be evaluating.

McKechnie says that's just how they draw you in. "Once they buy the items they are told to keep the items and mail the additional money back to the scammer."

The problem? The checks are counterfeit. The money victims send back ends up coming out of their account.

"They are responsible for the money lost."

Postal inspectors say consumers need to be on the lookout for these types of scams.

"That solicitation can say anything," McKechnie says, "as long as there is an attractive hook to it and it's accompanied by a check."

Two pieces of advice if you come across something like this: Contact the Better Business Bureau to check out any business that tries to solicit you, and never send money back to anyone who sends you a check or money order.