The New York State Attorney General's Office has announced a pair of "mystery shopper" websites that duped people into paying thousands of dollars have been shut down.

AG Eric Schneiderman says the sites - and - lured people into becoming mystery shoppers to gauge customer service at specific stores.

Instead of getting paid for the work, Schneiderman says some people wound up paying for the assignments.

People would visit one of the websites to obtain a "job number" to be a so-called secret shopper for Western Union. They would wind up receiving a counterfeit check with instructions to keep part of the amount as payment. The bulk of the money was to be wired back.

People ultimately lost significant amounts of money after their bank learned a deposited check was counterfeit.

Schneiderman advises New Yorkers to be suspicious of any unsolicited checks or work-at-home opportunities. He says promises of easy money almost always are scams.