Dine at fast food restaurants, complete survey – get paid; same scam different pitch

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Nampa resident Gloria Marley doesn’t frequent fast food establishments.

She was curious about a Consumer Research Program that would pay her to eat at area McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, so she contacted Better Business Bureau.S1710001

The double-sided letter from Converall Twin Research & Managment Inc., from Newport News, Va., clearly read she was selected for the program because she took an online survey.  She says she’d never filled out a survey for any restaurants, or other business mentioned – Wal-Mart, MoneyGram, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Sears, J.C. Penney or Western Union.

Because this newest scam appeals to the basics – food – it may catch some residents in the Snake River Region off guard. Getting almost-free fast food is a variation to the secret shopper scam where the recipient receives a letter detailing a simple shopping task, survey completion, and payment for services. Here’s how the scheme works. The recipient deposits the check received with the Consumer Research invitation letter. It instructs the person to deposited the check, take cash from the deposit to pay for assigned purchases. A key to this scam is some of the money must be sent back to the research company through Western Union, MoneyGram or Wal-Mart. This is done by wire transfer which is the same as cash.

Once the money is spent and sent, the check is returned and the recipient is left with overdraft, fees and possible legal prosecution.

Marley’s  letter had a check from Managecast Technologie, of Ohio. Company officials acknowledged they knew about the stolen checks, and have put a hold on the account. Do not contact the company as there is absolutely nothing company officials  can do since the checks are counterfeit.

“It’s a big drain on our small company to respond to these inquiries,” Managecast Technologie owner Nathan Golden says. “We suspect someone intercepted one of our legitimate checks and then created very close copies of our checks. ”

If someone deposits a check, it will be returned “insufficient funds” or  “closed account.” Depositors will be held responsible for the return of the funds, and any  fees, fines or penalties the bank imposes.

Remember, although the funds from a deposited check may be available for use within 1-5 business days of deposit, it can take several weeks for the bank to find that the check is counterfeit or otherwise invalid.

Tips:

  • If you didn’t sign up for a survey, you won’t be solicited for future survey participation.
  • Anytime you are required to wire transfer money, it’s the same as cash and once it’s sent, it’s non-tractable – it’s gone!
  • Whether it is in the form of a job, loan, grant, sweepstakes or lottery, secret shopper – do not fall victim to advance-payment scams.
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2 Comments

Filed under Scam alert

2 responses to “Dine at fast food restaurants, complete survey – get paid; same scam different pitch

  1. My name is Nathan Golden, owner of Managecast Technologies, Inc. (not Technologie). We are the biggest victim in this scam because we get many, many calls a day from other people who are receiving these checks.

    Your article makes it sounds like we lost checks. This is not true. We suspect someone intercepted ONE of our legitimate checks and then created very close copies of our checks. For instance, the scam checks don’t have the same watermarks and security marks our real checks do, nor is the company name correctly printed.

    I would like to make it exceptionally clear we did NOTHING to cause this scam, including “losing” checks. We are not involved in this at all. Please do not contact us as there is absolutely nothing we can do to help you and it’s a big drain on our small company to respond to these inquiries.

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