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I applied for a part time job on Indeed to be a “Secret Shopper for Walmart”. I took the bait and was sent a check for 2k and given an assignment to buy iTune cards at two Walmart and do a customer service report. I was highly suspicious so I went to my bank and informed them of everything. The teller took it to her supervisor who called the other bank and came back to me saying it was good, go ahead and do your shopping. I asked when the funds would clear and they said it’s in your account and accessible now. I asked what my limit was (1000) and then asked them to raise it as I again needed to shop for 2k and they made the change for only one day. I was defrauded and my bank says I am 100% responsible. My full-time job provided me with a one time legal consultation for free in which the lawyer said I have a 50-50 shot in small claims court to get my money back as I went to them as experts in fraud. I am looking for an opinions as to whether I should drop it or proceed to small claims court. I am clueless to the process but currently out 2k.

  • Please elaborate on (1) who employed you (and under what circumstances) to be "Secret Shopper"; (2) your statement that you were defrauded; and (3) who are "experts in fraud" (the bank or whoever advertised on Indeed). Proceedings in Small Claims court are pretty straight-forward, but maybe with additional context your chances for recovery might be better than 50-50. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 23 '18 at 18:55
  • There is generally little downside (other then your time) going to a small claims court - I'd go for it. Before doing that though, get as much supporting evidence as you can - eg bank notes on your file, and notes about who said what. That they raised your limit the same day is a lot better then just here-say (and I expect the bank has recorded reasons related to why). You should post which jurisdiction you are in as this is quite important. For example, in New Zealand you might well be covered by the consumer guarantees act as you acted on a representation by the bank. – davidgo Aug 24 '18 at 2:25
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The law does generally hold the depositor liable for bad checks that they deposit, which includes the situation where a check is fraudulent. This is a frequent scam, where a forged check is presented and the victim is asked to buy something of value, and sent it to the scammers. (This is called the "secret shopper scam"). The bank making money available is not a guarantee that the check is legitimate.

The problem with suing the bank in small claims court is that there will be an important question of fact, namely exactly what the bank's agent said to you. It is unlikely that they actually said "The other bank has promised that this is a legitimate check which they will honor, so you can safely spend the money". More likely, they implied that there is such an account, that there are funds to cover the check, an so on. It's only weeks later after the dust has settled (the account-holder has notified their bank that the check was forged) that the bank can apply the higher-level forensic tools needed to determine that the check was bogus. It is not particularly reasonable that people have to know how long it can take to be sure that a check is legit, but that's the way it is. The judge might be sympathetic to your plight, given that your bank was not highly diligent in warning you about the possible risks, but these risks are widely advertised, so the judge might also find that "you should have known".

  • Thank you for your insight. If I did decide to move forward and go to small claims court are you aware of any cases I should study first? I am no legal beagle. – DocScotty Aug 24 '18 at 15:31

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