I guess it was just a matter of time before one of those Canadian-based mystery shopping scam companies found my mailing address and sent me one of their scam packages in the mail. My intention with this post is to provide you with the details of this particular scam package, so that you’re less likely to fall victim to similar offers.
The material they sent me is very similar to those that have been well documented by web sites and news stations for the past few years. Let’s start with the envelope. As you can see from the following picture I took of the return address, the letter was sent from Ontario, Canada. This is an important tip-off that the contents are likely fraudulent, as Canadian scam operations are apparently immune to U.S. consumer protection bureaus, and are nearly impossible to take to court, should you fall victim to their scams.
The first document in the letter I noticed was the check, made payable to me, in the amount of $2,800! It’s an impressive looking check, with signatures, proper bank fonts, and even a bank that is supposedly located in my state of Missouri. However, the check is completely fraudulent. If a bank would for some reason actually allow me to cash this check, it would soon bounce, and I’d be liable for repaying the $2,800 plus penalties.
The next document of interest is the letter explaining my mystery shopping tasks. While it is fairly well worded, you can still find several grammatical and typographical errors throughout the letter, which should arouse suspicion. It also contains copyrighted corporate logos of McDonalds, Western Union, Sears, Money Gram, and Wal-Mart which are used to lend some credibility to the letter. The letter explains how I’m supposed to spend my money at the various business listed. The two main tasks are wiring a significant amount of money back to the Canadian scam operation using both Money Gram and Western Union. This money would theoretically come out of the money you received for cashing their check. Of course, the scam company hopes you transfer your money to them BEFORE you are notified that their check bounced.
And finally, they provided a very poor imitation of a mystery shop feedback form. Anyone who has had much experience with actual mystery shops would recognize the generic and unrealistic quality of this feedback form. Every question could apply to basically any shop for any product. But any legitimate feedback form would be catered to the actual shop being performed, would have more questions, and would ask for more detailed responses.
Since I have been targeted by this company, it’s likely many more have as well. Hopefully my exposure of this despicable scam operation will help prevent many of you from falling victim to their scheme. Be careful out there, fellow shoppers!!!
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