Secret Shopper Scam Advisory

Tue, 2023-05-02

The Bermuda Police Service is reminding the public to be wary of advertisements for what turn out to be fake job opportunities circulating on social media. These advertisements are normally placed on Facebook, but have also been received via personal e-mail, WhatsApp, text message and eMoo.

Persons are invited to sign up for employment, usually as a secret shopper, by fake research companies and enticed by the opportunity of earning money for evaluating local shops. In one current iteration of the scam, the alleged company is “Cellmark Investments” and applicants are instructed to make contact by emailing -

In another current version, the employment advertisement is placed on Facebook by someone fraudulently using the name of a local hotelier.

Persons who respond to these advertisements are then sent an application form asking for contact numbers and banking information.

They then receive deposits of varying amounts into their personal bank account, in one case the person received more than $6,000, and are informed that they are allowed to keep a portion usually between $200 and $300 as payment for their mystery shopper services.

The recipient is then instructed to use the remainder of the funds to purchase iTunes and other gift cards, scratch the cards to reveal the numbers, take a picture of the card numbers and send it back to the advertiser, who is never heard from again.

Individuals deceived by this scam are unknowingly being used to launder criminal proceeds.

Please be aware that the money deposited into your account is often stolen or, criminally obtained.

Scammers have been accessing local bank accounts and stealing funds to deposit into accounts of anyone who responds to the secret shopper offer. Within the past 2 days, the Bermuda Police Service has received a number of reports of person either being scammed or being used to facilitate the above mentioned scam.

In another scam, unsuspecting customers received an email purporting to be from Butterfield Bank. The email address used,, is not a bona-fide Butterfield address.

After following the instructions given in the email, a check of their respective accounts revealed that large sums of cash were transferred to persons locally.

Once the fraudulent activity is detected, your account will be frozen pending the outcome of investigations and the money deposited by the scammers will be taken from your account to reimburse the person whose money was transferred to it.

The public should be suspicious of any messages received from survey and research companies, particularly “Cellmark Investments”, although, the name of the company may vary.

Other tell-tale signs of this scam are as follows:

             Recruiters send cash immediately

             You are asked to buy gift cards with the majority of the money

             You are told to keep a portion as pay

             You are asked to scratch the coating off the gift card to show the PIN code

             You are asked to send pictures of the card’s front and back to the recruiter

Should you be approached to do these things, be aware, it is a scam. We urge that should you receive such an offer, do not respond.

Local banks are already vigilant for this suspicious activity and are likely to freeze the assets of any account found to be involved in the secret shopper scam.

Any incidents of suspected fraud should be reported to the Financial Crime Unit on telephone number 247-1757 or, via the e-mail address You may also call the Criminal Investigation Unit number 247-1744.