Just in time for the holidays, a new scam! Every so often, Infosurv is put in the uncomfortable position of having to respond to inquiries regarding a “mystery shopping opportunity” that we are supposedly sponsoring. The gag is always a bit different, but there are always a few common elements – 1) someone receives a check and a mystery shopping assignment, 2) they are asked to deposit the check, 3) they are instructed to use the funds to make a purchase, and finally 4) they are instructed to send the purchase and/or remaining balance of the check through Western Union, keeping a small “salary” for themselves. The catch is that the check is always fraudulent. And by the time the bank realizes this, the victim has most likely completed the “assignment” and is then on the hook for any purchases made or funds transfered.
If you have received a letter similar to the one described here, do not cash the check! Infosurv is not affiliated with this group in any capacity and they are using our brand as a means to build trust with potential victims. The check is counterfeit, and you will be responsible for those funds when the bank realizes that the check is no good.
If you’d like to help combat this problem, we recommend that you complete the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center Online Fraud Report Form. Additional information on the NCL and check fraud can be found at www.fakechecks.org. You may also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
The information you submit will be distributed to local authorities, the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and a host of federal organizations responsible for preventing fraud. These organizations tend to focus their resources on growing trends, so the only way to stop this crime is to speak up! Please join fellow victims by reporting your case.
For more information on mystery shopping scams, you can visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt151.shtm.