I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
Yes, it's a scam. That check is fraudulent. What happens is, you deposit it into your account. They send you to Western Union or to a bank to wire transfer them most of the money. Wire transfers cannot be reversed after the fact. You send the money, and then the check is returned by your bank. Suddenly, there's $2,970.10 less in your count than you expected. If you don't have that much extra money in your account, your legitimate items like mortgage or car payment could be returned. The scam artists are located overseas, usually in Ghana or Nigeria, so there's no way for you to get your money back. And if the bank thinks you were involved, they could even freeze or close your bank account. It's an insidious scam, because it has far-reaching consequences for the victim beyond just taking their money (which is bad enough).
There are some legitimate mystery shopping companies out there, but the shops tend to only reimburse the shopper for money spent, especially new shoppers, or pay a nominal amount of $5-$10. Any time someone asks you to deposit a check and then send them cash, it's a scam. The RMCP has even issued warnings about this scam, as has the US Federal Trade Commission:
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