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The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:43 am
by Elmware
So I get a letter for the opportunity to be a mystery shopper with a cheque for nearly $4,000 inside. It looks legit and all, but why would someone just send me a cheque and trust that I would do the tasks as follows? One task is to buy something for $100 at a retail store, and the other is to wire money to them, then fill out the form and fax it back to them. Sounds like an easy job, right? The cheque looks like it will cover all the expense and pay out, but there's one problem. It's not real.

The old saying goes that if it's too good to be real, then it most likely is.

I'm pretty sure that after wireing the money back to them, I'll probaqbly find out afterwards that the cheque is fake and the fundings are not there.

I really hope that nobody falls for this either. As usual, the letter is labeled "Confidential" but I never signed any non-disclosure agreement with anybody, so here it is.

The letter:
Image
Side B:
Image
The cheque:
Image

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:18 am
by notorial dissent
Well, the Stankometer, pat pending, pegged out on this one, not only are they asking you to commit fraud, they are also using the mails to solicit fraud, and wire to commit it, so you have a nice collection of Federal offenses to consider there. As well as crossing international borders, making it a felony in two countries. I assume the Crown takes as dim a view of this sort of thing as our Federal gov't does? The check is of course a fake, if you contact the Bank of Nova Scotia, assuming there is such an entity, you will find there is no such account, although their fraud department might like to know some one is trying to use them in a fraud attempt. The check was undoubtedly run off with simple check printing software that is readily available. I am always leery of that particular variety of safety paper as it is almost always of the home brew variety of check. The safety paper is the only legitimate thing about it.

Basically anyone playing this particular game is going to be out the money from the check, and once it is wired by WU it is gone. The scary thing is that there are plenty of people who will fall for this.

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:52 am
by Elmware
I found an article on this scam.
http://phoenix.about.com/od/scam1/a/mysteryshop.htm

notorial dissent wrote:Well, the Stankometer, pat pending, pegged out on this one, not only are they asking you to commit fraud, they are also using the mails to solicit fraud, and wire to commit it, so you have a nice collection of Federal offenses to consider there. As well as crossing international borders, making it a felony in two countries. I assume the Crown takes as dim a view of this sort of thing as our Federal gov't does? The check is of course a fake, if you contact the Bank of Nova Scotia, assuming there is such an entity, you will find there is no such account, although their fraud department might like to know some one is trying to use them in a fraud attempt. The check was undoubtedly run off with simple check printing software that is readily available. I am always leery of that particular variety of safety paper as it is almost always of the home brew variety of check. The safety paper is the only legitimate thing about it.

Basically anyone playing this particular game is going to be out the money from the check, and once it is wired by WU it is gone. The scary thing is that there are plenty of people who will fall for this.
Actually, I live in Canada, and the Scotiabank, or Bank of Nova Scotia is very common here.

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:53 am
by Burnaby49
notorial dissent wrote:[color=#0000FF]Well, the Stankometer, pat pending, pegged out on this one, not only are they asking you to commit fraud, they are also using the mails to solicit fraud, and wire to commit it, so you have a nice collection of Federal offenses to consider there. As well as crossing international borders, making it a felony in two countries. I assume the Crown takes as dim a view of this sort of thing as our Federal gov't does? The check is of course a fake, if you contact the Bank of Nova Scotia, assuming there is such an entity, you will find there is no such account, although their fraud department might like to know some one is trying to use them in a fraud attempt.


Certainly there is "such an entity", The Bank of Nova Scotia is a major Canadian Bank, one of the so-called Big Five. It does business under the name Scotiabank.

As far as this letter is concerned I wouldn't place much faith in a boilerplate business document that has such pathetic spelling and grammar as;

you indicated to be interested in an additional income on a part-time bases.

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:08 am
by notorial dissent
The reason for my comment, since I am not familiar with Canadian Banks, is that the usual practice here is to just make up a bank name, since the rest of the check is bogus as well, just because they used a real bank name doesn't make any of the rest of it real.

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:33 am
by Burnaby49
notorial dissent wrote:The reason for my comment, since I am not familiar with Canadian Banks, is that the usual practice here is to just make up a bank name, since the rest of the check is bogus as well, just because they used a real bank name doesn't make any of the rest of it real.


Making up a bank name would be awkward in Canada because we have so few of them. The Big Five are about it. After that it's credit unions (my choice for banking) and branches of foreign banks such as HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Bank of Canada). American has such a wealth of small independent banks that you can make up almost any name you want.

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:38 am
by Elmware
I never did say anything to imply that it could be real, however, there is the possibility that it could be a real cheque from a dormant account too, but I doubt it.

When I scanned the cheque, I did scan it at a low resolution, but there are some details and watermarks, etc... that did not scan. One thing the cheque doesn't have is the hologram. Most valid cashier's cheques seem to have a little hologram embedded in them.

But either way, nobody just gives you a cheque on a whim and expects you to cash it and send some of the money back. Especially if they've never even met you.

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:41 am
by Elmware
credit unions (my choice for banking)
Good man/woman!

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:02 am
by Burnaby49
Elmware wrote:
credit unions (my choice for banking)
Good man/woman!


I've been screwed around by banks but the Vancity Credit Union here in Vancouver treats me great. Everything is free past age 55, cheques, travelers cheques (a dying instrument just used by we ancients) and no bank fees of any kind.

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:57 am
by Elmware
Burnaby49 wrote:
Elmware wrote:
credit unions (my choice for banking)
Good man/woman!


I've been screwed around by banks but the Vancity Credit Union here in Vancouver treats me great. Everything is free past age 55, cheques, travelers cheques (a dying instrument just used by we ancients) and no bank fees of any kind.

Just last year I closed my account at CIBC because I swear they were robbing me blind. Even charging me overdraft fees for a negative balance brought on by their fees or service charges. So as soon as my HST cheque came in, I went straight to Coast Capital Savings Credit Union with it and opened a new account with them and then I was done with CIBC. Most services are either free or cheaper with a Credit Union, and there's no monthly fees to nickel and dime you to death.

You're not very far from me btw. I'm just out in Surrey. Wanna meet for coffee?

Re: The mysteries to being a mystery shopper

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:01 am
by Elmware
I took the cheque and the letter to Scotiabank today. They checked out the account and found that it was being drawn way over. The teller commented "I'd hate to be the owner of this account."

So basically, somebody is being robbed by this scam as well as the people falling for it.