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