Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I got a $3,839.49 Check!!!


Can you believe it? I couldn't!!! I opened my mail and had a check for $3,839.49! I was practically jumping up and down...well, until I realized.......

it was a SCAM!!!

I wanted to write this post and share this experience for various reasons. Primarily, to warn you about this Mystery Shopping scam floating around right now, but also so you can be a bit more informed on how I decide myself what offers to try and not try! I hope this info helps you out a bit!

First, scams can be something that look real and people all over the world easily fall victim to them daily. It is sickening and upsetting that people honestly do this to others! How do they live with themselves?

How did I know this was a scam? Well, I have read alot about this scam on all the legit Mystery Shopping sites I visit. They have all been warning that their names are being used in this scam against their knowledge, and to beware.

Basically, the check came with a letter explaining that I had been accepted as a Mystery Shopper for stores ( Walmart, Target, etc ) and I would be paid hundreds of dollars to evaluate the Western Union at these specific locations.

They have sent me $3, 839.49 and want me to deposit it into my own checking. Then, I need to transfer a portion of the money via Western Union and write a review.

So, I go deposit the check, then I get to keep $500 as my pay ( Woo, Hoo ) and transfer $3,170 and pay $169.49 fee to Western Union. Wow..$500 just to transfer money.

The problem, as I am sure you can guess, is that the check bounces after users transfer the money. Go figure!

So, BEWARE! If you get this letter in the mail, don't do it! I am taking mine to the post office tomorrow to report the fraud.

Second, if it looks too good to be true, it can still be true! I know, I know. Usually the saying is that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. But, I have found that is NOT true. I mean, come on, with all the money all of us have made with Online Offers, I think it is safe to say that in some cases, yes....it seems to good...and it IS true!

Why do I write this statement? Because I, personally, don't want us all to be jaded from making real money online due to a few of these dishonest people around the world. Because of them, so many people shy away from legit offers, and that is unfortunate.

Third, is it worth testing? I get emails all the time asking how I ever started doing online offers, surveys, mystery shopping, etc, etc.

And, the answer? I always sat down, figured out the cost to my family and decided whether I thought it was worth the risk.

For example, the first time I ever did an online offer, I figured out the full cost to me and then sat down with my husband and said, "I would like to try this. It may be a scam and we may lose the money. But, if it works, we get $2,000 and will be able to do these offers again and again." We decided it was worth the money to test it out and see what happened.

Always do that, too. Is it worth the investment? In my cases, often the investment was $20 to $60. I was willing to part with that money to see what happened. I knew there was a chance it could be a scam, and I prepared myself ahead of time.

In this "check" case, am I willing to see if this was real but potentially lose $3,339.49? Not hardly. That is a bit excessive. I am going to guess that unless you are a multi millionaire, you probably aren't going to want to potentially lose over $3,000 to test this offer.

Fourth, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Even though my husband and I agreed to test that first Online Offer, I had done research first. I had gone to message boards and websites where others had claimed to do the offers and been successful. By reading their stores and experiences, I felt much more comfortable that indeed, these online offers did work.

Just as I researched this Mystery Shopping check, I was able to discern that, nope...this is not a legit mystery shop by going to legit Mystery Shopping sites where they were reporting the fraud.

Fifth, don't always believe the SCAM/RIP OFF sites. What is the final lesson I have learned? I don't believe all those Rip Off sites or SCAM sites where people vent that they have been "had". So many times I read their complaints and realize they didn't follow the directions!

I can usually go to the terms/conditions of the company they are complaining about and find in a matter of minutes why they got charged ( they were under a trial...it wasn't free forever ), why they didn't get their gift ( they duplicated companies, all their offers didn't approve, etc ) and the list goes on. THEY didn't follow thru on their end. If users would simply read terms/conditions, alot of these Rip Off complaints would never even be typed.

In most cases, if I can find a website where others are raving about an offer...that outweighs those I find complaining about offers on the Rip Off sites.

NOW, if I can't find anyone raving about the offer, an ONLY find it listed on Rip Off Report or Scam.com, etc...then I will steer clear.

In closing? I hope this gives a bit of insight into how I figure out what offers to try and not try and above all...how to make sure your don't get scammed!!!

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Hilmarose said...

I just gotta tell you what happened after I read this post.... I went to the bank to cash a check and there was a woman sorta standing off to the side. There was a long line so I asked her if she was in line. She said she needed to find out if a check was real or not and wasn't sure who she needed to ask about it. I told her about your blog post this morning and To make a long story short... the check was this exact thing you posted about!!!! It was from a chase bank (that is where I was) they kept the check so they could send it where they needed to and she made a copy to take to the post office to turn in(I told her what you were doing).
Anyway... just wanted to share that.

Carrie @ Moneysavingmethods.com said...

See...aren't those people terrible! They are sending them out to everyone!

And, people are actually wondering it is true!!

I hope my post keeps many from making a mistake and losing thousands of dollars!

I am so mad! Ugh!

Thanks for sharing with the girl, although she sounded like she was doing the right thing...double checking if the check was real. Good for her!

Amanda @ Fake Ginger said...

I think I got the exact one last week! I get a lot of similar ones but usually they're checks for $16,000 or even $20,000 which is WAY too good to be true. Looks like they're getting smart and lowering the amounts of the "checks".

I've become so scared of these fake checks that when we got an extra check from the IRS (for paying too much), I was convinced it was some kind of scam! I made everyone I know look at it just to be sure.

Emily said...

The check cashing scheme is a common scam that runs through the work-at-home arena as well. Your readers should know that not only is this a scam, but it's illegal! So if you fall for this not only will you lose money but you could face jail time as well!!

KristinBrianne said...

I got a check like that for a little over $2K about a year ago. I knew it was too good to be true because when i called the people they were very shady. I tested it though, and I deposited it into savings and just left it there to see what would happen. I'd heard reports that after people follow the directions, and spend all the money, they take the money out of accounts (or just refuse the checks) which leaves customers with a very negative balance.

Well, it took about 2 1/2 months but they DID take the money back out of my account. I was charged a returned check fee which I couldn't do anything about but it was enough to prove a scam so I could warn others. I believe it too was off of a Chase bank, and the address ended up being in a Sam's Club in a different state than the letter said it was.

I was ticked about losing a little money, but if it helped others keep from losing a LOT of money I was ok with it. I'm glad you posted this, beecause this was back before my blogging days.

Sorry I'm so wordy, but thanks for all your hard work.