For those who may have received an invitation from Mr. Frank James with Mystery Survey Evaluation Inc, based in East Orange, NJ, to become a mystery shopper and evaluate your local Wal-Mart and Western Union locations, this is a scam! The initial invitation I received via email was formatted as follows:
About Us .
We are a company that conducts surveys and evaluate other companies. We get hired to go to other people's companies and act like customers in order to know how the staffs are handling their services in relation to their customers.Once we have a contract to do so, you would be directed to the company or outlet and you would be given the funds you need to do the job (either purchase products or required services), after which you would write a comment on the staffs activities and give a detailed record of your experience
Examples of details you would forward to us are:
1. How long it took you to get the services requested.
2. Smartness of the attendant
3. Customer service professionalism
4. Sometimes you might be required to upset the attendant, to see how they react to clients why they get tensed .
We turn these information over to the company executives and they would carry out their own duties in improving their services.
Most companies employ our assistance when people give complains about their services or when they feel there are needs for them to improve their customer service. your Identity would be kept confidential as the job states (secret/mystery shopper) you would be paid $200 for every duty you carry out, and bonus on your transportation allowance, and funds would be given to you if you have to dine as part of the duty, Your job will be to evaluate and comment on customer service in a wide variety of shops, stores, restaurant and services in your area.
No commitment is made on this job, and you would have flexible hours as it suits you.
If think you have what it takes to join a fast-pace, professional environment, then please apply immediately as soon as possible via e-mail as this position will be filled quickly but before you fill the list below make sure you read the INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT attached to this mail.
CONTACT ADDRESS (no P.O.Box please):
PRESENT JOB STATUS/POSITION:
As soon as you respond, we can look at your distance from the locations which you have to put your service into, and your address would also be need for your payments.
Thanks For Your Total Understanding and Moral Cooperation and we hope to read from you soon .
MYSTERY SHOPPER INC
949-608-0939 EX 1425866
213-233-0136 EX email@example.comLet me assure you that this is most certainly a SCAM!
After a series of only 3 emailed responses to Mr. Frank James, in which I sent him my name, address, email address & telephone number, along with the address of the nearest Wal-Mart and Western Union location, I was quickly sent a check for $3,300 by UPS Next Day Air. This check was drawn on a completely different company's account, held by Bank of America.
I was notified via email that I was to receive this first check the same day that I received it, with instructions on how to complete my "assignment". The email read, as follows:
Dear Survey Agent,
Please note that your package for Evaluation has been sent out via UPS
scheduled to be delivered to you today.
UPS Tracking # : J166 717 945 0
You start your survey immediately you receive the package from the
UPS, the package contains the payment which is for your evaluation and
the payment you will use to carry out your evaluation at the Western
Union and Wal-mart store.
More details has been attached to this email as the Evaluation
Instruction Letter which will let you know more on how you will
proceed in doing your survey .
Please make sure that you have highlighted the Wal-mart and Western
Union outlets in your area. You will be evaluating both Services
between 24 to 48 hours after you have received the package from UPS,
if you can't get funds instantly at your Bank, you can deposit it and
withdraw the funds from your account the next day to complete the
assignment. The first three people to give there report between 24 to
48 hours is going to get a free bonus.
Ensure that you confirm via Email to us when you receive the package
and that you understand how to proceed with it .
***I look forward to read an email from you soon as possible to
confirm you got this update .
Frank James.The email message had an attachment with instructions on how I was to carry out my "assignment", in detail. Those exact instructions were:
Dear Survey Agent,
You will be evaluating the Wal-mart store and a Western union outlet in your City. The Payment sent to you ($3,300.00) covers all expenditures including evaluation, shopping, transport and your compensation which is $200.00 for this survey.
You are to purchase Goods of your Choice for your own Use at the Wal-mart store in your City which you are evaluating, spending not more than an $50.00 and deduct an extra $25.00 for transportation cost.
Also as regards Western Union, we will be using our company feed-back mechanism, therefore you will be sending funds through Western union outlet in your City to our receiving agent.
You will take a total of $3025.00 to the western union outlet you are evaluating, you will have to pay the western union transfer charges from the $3025.00 you are sending out.
Please send all western union transactions to the details below:
NAME : CYNTHIA KEELEY
ADDRESS : 4225 COOK STREET
CITY : DENVER
STATE : CO
ZIP CODE : 80226
Below are details you need to send once funds has been transfered to the Agent's Name and Address Which is above :
- Sender's Full Name and Address.
- Secret question and answer ( if any )
- Western Union transfer charges
- Actual Amount sent
- Money Transfer Control number ( MTCN )
After Evaluation, ensure that you send back (via Email) the western union transfer code [10 digits ] and Wal-mart reports as it is required for Company feedback purposes on service delivery.
Transportation â€¦.....................â€¦ $25.00
Please remember what we are really after are the lines of question stated below, those are guidelines that you will lookout for during your visits to Wal-Mart and Western Union.
-How long it took you to get services.
-Ambiance/Outlook of the Shop/Outlet
-Smartness of the attendant
-Customer service professionalism
-Reactions when under pressure
-Information that you think would be helpful
-Your comments and impressions.
-Your personal opinion
We are Counting on you and we expect a detailed report. Please get back to us if
you have somethings to know about your Evaluation.
Frank James.When I saw the amount of the check, with instructions to cash and/or deposit this bogus check into my account and then wire the bulk of the amount received to yet another individual, I realized that there was no doubt that this was a scam. Rather than simply destroy the check without notifying anyone, I chose to post this bulletin and forward all of the emails and documents I received to my local Attorney General's office. I recommend that you do the same, should you receive information similar to this.
I also contacted Bank of America as soon as the bank opened that same morning that I received the check and verified that there had already been several red-flags placed on that account for fraudulent activity. I contacted the legitimate company whose account it had been drawn on to inform them of the scam. They were only recently aware of the scam and had closed that bank account the previous business day after I received my check after receiving information that this had happend more than three times all across the United States.
I don't know if anyone involved in this illegal activity will be caught or prosecuted, but I will repost any information I may have regarding progress in doing so. Please be aware that if you deposit these bogus checks into your account and draw out cash to send to anyone via Western Union, you will never get your cash back! You will also be responsible for the bad check that was deposited into your personal account, plus any miscellaneous charges for processing the bad check. Be smart.......if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!!!