Beware fake mystery shopper scams, warns a new McAfee Labs consumer alert, or the mystery may end up being, “Where did all my bank funds go?”

According to a McAfee blog post yesterday, criminal outfits are pretending to be retail chains looking for volunteer mystery shoppers willing to buy goods at the store and provide feedback. Victims are contacted via email, texts, online ads and job boards and snail mail, and are enticed with the promise of money. All they have to do is register for the program on a website, providing sensitive data such as names and Social Security numbers. Unfortunately, the site is fake, designed by cybercriminals to capture data needed to commit fraud and identity theft.

McAfee advised consumers to check with the store named in the offer to ensure the opportunity is legit. Also, individuals who receive a check in advance for their mystery shopping services should wait to see if it clears upon deposit before taking further action.