The letter explained that I would be trained & paid to secret shop stores like Wal-Mart, JC Penney’s, Home Depot and Best Buy. At the end of each visit I would fill out a report (sample was included with the letter), and then submit everything to this company in exchange for a pay-check. In addition to getting paid I would also keep the merchandise as a bonus. How awesome was that!?
Astonishingly enough, there was a whopping check of $3995.00 included with this letter and just as my hands were starting to get that “lucky twitch”, the cynical part of me kicked in and…. “WAAAIT, ONE MINUTE!!!! ”
“Who the hell are these people and how did they find me? Are you kidding me? They’re just gonna mail me a four thousand dollar check out of the goodness of their hearts and hope that I will become their next star employee? I smell bullshit”
*note: let me say that I’ve met real-life Mystery Shoppers when I managed a fast food restaurant, so I know that this is a legit job.
I reread the letter and I examined the check for authenticity. The heading on the letter had a U.S. address but the postage on the envelope was from Canada! This was my first clue of foul play…
*envelope shows a Canadian sender*
*heading is different from envelope*
The check contained the microprint & security image embedded on the back like a real check, but what would happen if I had cashed it and it bounced? Most people don’t realize that their bank will charge them a penalty fee ($25 to $65) for every non-sufficient funds check regardless of whether it’s their fault!
*note: if you’ve made your payroll checks for direct deposit and your employer bounces your pay check, YOU will be charged with penalty fees by your bank!
My second clue of deceit, were the following instructions in the second part of the letter:
“…you will be trained in financial transaction by sending Western Union /MoneyGram to one of our training agents in a different location. Amount to be wired $3155.00….”
The remaining funds were for my supposed “probationary training & funds for shopping”.
*address on check is different too*
BUT, I don’t know anyone in Canada, I never bought anything from Canada nor have I ever signed up for anything in Canada. So who are these people?
The first place I considered checking with was the Better Business Bureau online. If anyone had made any kind of complaint against this company it would be reported here!
I checked out Bank One and it’s a legit bank in Illinois but they did not have any accounts listed for “White House Manufacturing,” which was the name of the issuer on the check. As far as I could tell this account did NOT exist!
Finally, I Googled the company name: “Cardinal Monitoring & Research” which was on the letterhead. I was quite shocked but pleased with myself to find them listed on a site called “Rip Off Report”!!! (click here to see details)
Apparently, they use a non-U.S. address so our postal system can’t charge them with mail fraud… only, they’re wrong in assuming that they can’t be charged because the whole deal is a scam! I was very fortunate to find more information on this and other “work-at-home” and “online paid surveys” companies and the best place to verify these so-called jobs is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Here are some really good places to check for scams such as pyramid & telemarketing schemes, credit card & sweepstake fraud, foreign banks fraud, investment schemes, insurance fraud, work-at-home scams, post office & mail fraud, online auctions and more. You can check for complaints submitted by others or file complaints both in your state & the state from which the fraudulent business is from.
- Better Business Bureau - www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews
- Rip Off Report - www.ripoffreport.com
- FBI Common Fraud Schemes - www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud
- National Consumers League - www.nclnet.org/worker-rights/104-job-scams/292-beware-fraudulent-work-at-home-offers
- Scam Watch by the FTC - 1-877-FTC-HELP www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
- U.S. Postal Inspectors – http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov
- National Consumer Protection - http://consumer.gov
- National Association of Attorneys General - www.naag.org
*for Spanish version CLICK HERE