A Check for $2,520 and All I Had to Do Was be a “Secret Shopper” for McDonalds, Walmart and Sears

Mar 21 17:42 2009 Bill Lyman Print This Article

WOW! What a great way to make a living. Just pretend to be a shopper at restaurants, mega-stores and other businesses, and get paid. And, I get to keep the merchandise I buy and the meals I eat. Can you think of a better ‘job’?

On the morning of March 19,Guest Posting 2009 I received the check as stated above. Payable to me. No strings attached on back of check. It was drawn on the Mile High Banks of Colorado. Had never heard of this particular bank, so I went online to Google, and yes, it was a legitimate bank. This was a ‘cashier’s check’, signed by a ‘John R Betty’.

It was accompanied by a letter and instructions. On the back of the instructions, were printed the ‘Code of Business Conduct and Ethics’. How ironic, coming from a scam artist. It explained that it was to be honest and ethical in my doings, to be in legal complaisance  with the law, and be honest with any company funds.

The letter started out: Congratulations! You have been selected….  Boy, how many times have you heard that, ‘you have been selected.’ The first letter I ever got like that was my draft notice in 1958. Yes, I’m that old.  They went on to tell me a little about themselves, that they conducted these secret shopping surveys for major companies like McDonalds, Sears, Walmart, Western Union, Wendy’s, Kmart, Lowes and many more.

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it. I doubt they actually do work with them, but they grab names familiar to every one to establish their credibility.  The letter was signed by a Aural W. Brown, Director of Operation. I was to call a Mr. Winston Powell, a research associate at Secret Shopper of Brownsville, Ontario, Canada.

They broke down the $2,520 paycheck this way:

·        $280 (2 hr. at $140 hr)  Pit Pay: Pay rate increases after completion of first assignment.

·        $80  Items purchased are for Employee to keep. Receipt required  - Walmart

·        $20  McDonalds, Wendy’s or Subway is lunch bonus. No receipt required

·        $980 (+$50 transfer fee) Money Gram Transfer. Ref # and receipt required - Walmart

·        $80 Items purchased are for Employee to keep. Receipt Required - Sears

·        $980 (+50 transfer fee) Western Union transfer. Ref# and receipt required - Sears

Then there was the ‘Customer Service Evaluation Tool(CSET) which asked for my personal information. Then there were 5 boxes used to rate the 5 merchants from 1 to 5.

1 being unsatisfactory, to 5 being excellent.  They asked for ratings on 8 different items, such as quality of service, attitude, sales skills, etc.  Then you supposedly sent this to them for rating and proving your work.  They then purport to have additional assignments. All this just to get you to deposit the check and send the two $980 wire transfers. That’s where they make their money.

And it doesn’t take a genius to recognize what happens to the ‘cashiers check’ after you deposit it. About a week or 10 days later, you’re advised by your bank that the check is fraudulent (fake or counterfeit) and the $2520 will be deducted from your account. If you are overdrawn because of it, the bank expects you to make up the shortage as quickly as possible.

When I first opened the letter, I realized this was a scam immediately. What company anywhere pays over $2500 to have work done to a total stranger before the work is done?

They had no idea who I am. There are legitimate mystery shoppers companies out there, and I have done some in the past. But they pay after you have accomplished the task, and usually in small amounts of $20 to $40. When somebody “gives” you thousands in advance in form of ‘cashier check’, I’ll bet my bottom dollar it’s a scam.

I went back to Google, and entered ‘Secret Shopper’ into search box. There were numerous articles about them and it being a scam. It also told of people falling for it. What makes it worse, is the fact this is usually perpetrated on those who can least afford it. Someone in dire financial straits may fall for it, deposit the ‘check’ and then find themselves in deeper financial trouble when the check is returned - fake check- and they have to make good to the bank.

If you ever get a ‘cashier’s check’ or other form of payment in the mail from an unknown company, usually from outside the U.S., especially in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, be suspicious and skeptical. Someone is trying to separate you from your money.

Check it out first. Call the bank. Have your bank verify that the funds are there before depositing the check. Also do a google check.

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Bill Lyman
Bill Lyman

I’m Bill Lyman and live in West Palm Beach, FL area. Love the idea of forums, blogs and articles, so I can share and learn.  Check out my blog at http://scamguard.typepad.com. It is designed to protect your pocketbook.

It could save you thousands.

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