Read This Before Opening A Text Sent By 'Whole Foods'

As the world continues to change, there's one thing that you can still count on to always be there, and that's scams. While some are so easy to spot that junk filters can sift them out, innovation means some will always make it through the net. The most recent is a text-based scam, claiming Whole Foods is offering very generous payment for "select Shoppers" (keep an eye out for that odd capitalization) willing to act as store evaluators (via WCNC Charlotte).

The message promises $400 for each 20- to 30-minute task you perform, which is extremely generous considering the job consists of "visiting the store" and evaluating it (via Reddit). You probably already know where this is heading. There's a link at the bottom of the text message "to process your application," which you really don't want to click. First, because Whole Foods have confirmed they have nothing to do with this offer. Second, because the link itself could download harmful software onto your device — but that's not even half of it.

The scam behind those Whole Foods texts

If you're curious about the nature of the scam, you're in luck. One person who clicked it before realizing it was probably a scam reported what happened. First, she was brought to a form that asked for lots of personal information, then after submitting it she got sent a check from the scammers in the mail (via Hawaii News Now). She was then instructed to keep $450 of the money for herself and use the rest to buy eBay gift cards to send back to the scammers. The catch is twofold: the check wasn't real, and now the scammers had her personal information. 

Unfortunately, this scam isn't even new. Roseanne Freitas of the Better Business Bureau claims these secret shopper-type scams have been around for a while, and for a good reason — they tend to work (at least when the spelling and grammar aren't egregious). You might have already come across a similar offer from Target, Walmart, or Best Buy. In fact, there's even an FTC consumer information warning about these exact types of offers (via FTC). The best way to avoid losing your money, having your identity stolen, or unknowingly downloading malware, is to research these offers before you click the link. Chances are you'll find an article like this one warning you to stay away — and if you're in doubt, just delete the text.