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 Questions: Mystery Shopper/Check Mule Scam

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canajun
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Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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Location: Great White North


PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

My being a long-time lurker/member on this site does pay off... at least in my roommate's favour since she has never seen or heard of 419 scams or their variants...

She saw an ad in the paper for a marketing job - it gave a website address - she went there, saw it was actually a 'mystery shopper' position (something she's done before), applied online for job.

Week later, in the mail, comes a manila envelope with no return address or post mark - inside is a form letter with the details of the first job and a Canadian-bank-issued cheque for $1980. Yeah - if that didn't send up huge warning signals <Danger, Will Robinson!>

However, it gets better... the beauty of this scam <er, first assignment> is that the target of the mystery shopping is MONEYGRAM itself - <Shields Up! Red Alert!> Explained scam to roommate even though she already thought it was weird and out of the ordinary.

Couple of questions I wanted to pose:

1) Whom should I turn the phony cheque into - the bank or the police?<assuming either group has time or resources> Or should I just shred the darn thing and forget about it?

2) There is minimal contact info for these scammers - mainly a Canadian phone number and a website address - no email addresses given anywhere - how do you straight bait or lure these characters out when you can't even email them? <You know, If I wanna go set up a drop box and safely bait them - how do I get them to nibble?>

Anyways, if anyone wants any of the limited details I have, I can post them or PM them.

Thanks and regards,
Kev

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Renard
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Joined: 26 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Out of curiosity where did she see this job posted?

Likely she should report it to your local Better Business Beau (or something similar).

If you want she could keep the check. Really it is worthless, and if you do not send the money than the scammer wasted money/time making the blasted thing.

Should you really want to turn it in, you could probably simply call up a local police station and ask them. More than likely they have some sort of fraud department or can point you in the direction you should go. But you will probably also have to fill out paperwork and I would seriously doubt if they catch anyone for this.
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Mugatu
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Joined: 13 May 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

1) Personally I'd just shred the cheque, you don't really want to be in posession of it. If you do keep it, just write "FAKE" across it so that you can't be accused of any wrongdoing. You can hand it in to the bank too if you like, they may appreciate it, or they may shred it, it depends on the bank. The local Police probably won't have a good understanding of what it is or what to do with it, but you never know. As Renard says, there will probably be paperwork to fill in and questions to answer.

2) By all means post the phone number here, and the website address. I'm not that well versed in mystery shopper scams, but I know that some members are. I'm sure that from the details you have, you can run a bait. Your friend managed to recieve a cheque after all.

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SlayerFaith
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Fake cheques and a Canadian phone number, no surprise. There are several gangs there working most varieties of cheque scams, including a huge snail mail fake lotto.

I would very much like to take a look at the website, canajun. If you don't want to post it, please PM me the link.

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William Wankur
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you're in the USA, your local postal inspector is a good person to give your fake checks to. If you want to keep it, check the laws in your state. In most states, possession of forged instruments is only illegal if there is intent to defraud.

(Disclaimer, I am not a lawyer. Your mileage may vary. Void Where Prohibited. Apply to Infected Area)

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SlapHappy
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@canajun - Post the website address and phone number here. I'm sure there are lots of baiters here that would love to give them a call at 3AM, and work on closing down their website, in addition to wasting their time.
Thanks for posting this. Very Happy

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canajun
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Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi folks - as requested:

Website address: http://www.marketsolinc.com/

Phone number: 418-261-2303

Fake job ad originally displayed in legitimate daily newspapers - google-fu didn't yield much results thus far - hopefully someone can get some more info on these clowns thru the domain and IP address.

Please have fun with them - and thanx alot for your help and advice! Very Happy

Cheers!

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Cachuma
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This is an increasingly common scam. Here is some info on it from Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/fraud/employment/shopper.asp

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US_Spook
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Interesting, the address in South Carolina is for an auto parts store. I wonder if they realize that their address is linked to this company. The Quebec address resolves to a medical center, same thing...wonder if they realize their address is being used for scams.

The site appears to be hosted by w3b.c0m

So I guess if someone was feeling ambitious, they can try to shut the site down. Shouldn't we get a few "secret shoppers" accounts set up first?
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