So maybe if I was naïve, I might would’ve been almost $3,000 richer the other day.

I’ve been victim to those phone calls that tell you “you’ve won a trip,” but that’s about all as far as scams until the other day.

I received a package in the mail, and I was excited. I had no idea what it was. Did someone send me something? Did I order something that I forgot about it?

Then I opened it to find a letter and a check from a company I’ve never heard of.

It was a check for $2,850 sent from Reed & Graham at 690 Sunol Street P.O. Box 5940 San Jose, CA 95150.

The letter, I don’t remember word for word, but it wanted me to go purchase iTunes gift cards from various places and evaluate my experience.

I was to report back, and I would get paid.

Soon after, I received a text message, which kind of bothered me that they knew not only my address but also my cell number, to say “Hi, Please be informed that your Mystery Shopper assignment has been delivered to you via USPS, Confirm the receipt of the packet. Earl Gibson.”

That’s when it dawned on me.

I had received an email from them before as well as a previous text.

The previous text said, “We are sorry for the delay in the arrival of your mystery shoppers assignment packet. You will be receiving your packet later next week. Earl Gibson.”

I had received an email saying the same thing, and another saying my evaluation assignment had arrived and that they hoped I would be able to carry out the evaluation assignment immediately.

I have no idea what started these emails or texts, but I’m just going to trash it and ignore it.

It crossed my mind when I saw that nice check to cash it and go on about my business.

But, I thought better of it.

I figured the fee I’d have to pay when the checked bounced wouldn’t be worth finding out if it would cash.

The likelihood of that happening was slim to none anyways.

I just thought I’d share my recent experience in case you also fall victim to the “Mystery Shopper.”

Once again, I’m not sure what prompted all of this, so just remember to be careful when giving out your information.

I must’ve slipped somewhere.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at