So I got a letter in the mail along with a check for $3,540.00 and I’m thinking OMG what’s this? I start to read the letter, basically it says that on a previous survey I indicated that I would be interested in making extra income on a part time basis and that I had been selected to Mystery Shop in my area. So here’s what I’m thinking at this moment.. OMG one of the many websites I’ve been to in regards to working at home has finally paid off.
Next the letter tells me that I can use $100 of the money to shop at one of four locations, I get to keep $300, and the rest of the money I have to wire to an account specified by my agent (it lists two names and a phone #) using western union or money gram. It continues on to tell me that I will be paid $300 per week for the first 3 months and then $500 a week after that. Hubby and I discuss how this would be great and how we could protect ourselves just in case it’s a scam by opening a separate bank account. I’m thinking fantastic this is just the boost we need in this economy. Then after a phone call to my mom and a little time on the Internet, reality starts to sink in that this is a SCAM.
Here’s how this scam works…. they have you cash this bogus check, use $100 to shop, pay yourself $300 and wire the rest to a location of their choice. HERE’S THE KICKER, THE CHECKS ARE BOGUS and if the checks are cashed by financial institutions – and they often are – the individuals who cash them are responsible for the lost funds. So basically your cashing a bad check, wiring the money to a third party location and by the time the bank realizes what happened they’re gone and your responsible for paying the bank back because you cashed the check.
So tomorrow I will be turning this mail over to either the police or the US Postal Inspection Services. Anyway, I wanted to post this because in this economy it’s an easy scam to fall for, especially if your behind in your bills or have medical bills to pay. I consider myself fairly smart but for a split second I thought it was legitimate.
Things to look for.. My Letter said it was from Mystery Shoppers Research Inc. in Los Angelos, CA yet the postage on the Envelope was from Canada (Canada is a common source of Internet and postal scams). This scam can appear in various forms please check out the following link on what you need to do if you think you’ve been victimized by a fraudster or if you want to make yourself more aware. http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/radDocs/checkfraud.pdf