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Mystery Shopping Discussion

SCAM COMPANY/CHECK
Theresa
Posts:19
It is a fact that we have to register, register, register in order to pick up mystery shop assignments.

I received an e-mail invitation to register with a company about 3 weeks ago. The company name was International Marketing Concepts,Inc. They also had a link www.imconceptsinc.com that went right to their website. I am always a bit leary about putting my personal information out there on the web. When I did not include my SS# as part of the registration process, I was not allowed to submit the registration form. I keyed in my SS# and the process was completed.

A few days later I started to receive phone calls from a DAVID COLEMAN. He was calling to speak to me about my registration with his company. It was toward the end of the month and he called me about 4 times. At one point he left the name "Willie". Did he forget the name that he had left before, or is "Willie" his middle name. When I looked up the area code for the number that he provided, I discovered that it was a Canadian area code. I sure was not going to call Canada on my dime if this company wanted me to work for them. He sent me an e-mail advising me that he had been trying to get in touch with me. I sent one back saying that I was not going to call Canada. He left a phone message that the company was going to be sending me a "probational" assignmnt and that I would receive it by the end of the week. I sent him back an email when I received the envelope. My name and address werer hand written on the envelop and it did not contain a return address.

The envelope contained a Code of Business Conduct, a CSET (Customer Service Evaluation Tool), a cover letter with Wal-Mark, FedEX, Target, McDonald, MoneyGram, Gap, Pepsi and KMart logos across the bottom. The letter outlined the Custoemr Service Evaluation that I was to perform. A check was also included for $4,975.00. I was supposed to deposit the check into my bank and transfer $3,995 to a Richard Smith in Barrie, Ontario Canada, pay $180 in service charges, and receive a whopping $800 as my "Probation Training Pay". "David Coleman" called me to discuss the assignment, but it did not sound right to me. Needless to say the check is bogus. It was drawn on Bank of America and had Bombadier on the upper left side.

I had to put Fraud Alerts on all of my accounts and may still have to contact the Motor Vehicle Department, and Social Security. I also had to notify the Postal service and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). I forwarded copies of the e-mails that I received to the FTC adn filed a complaint. DON'T let this happen to you. If you ever receive an invitation from INTERNATIONAL MARKETING CONCEPTS, INC. OR "DAVID COLEMAN (shoppers2@consultant.com), or www.imconceptsinc.com DO NOT PROVIDE YOUR INFORMATION ON THIS BOGUS WEBSITE. THEY ARE RUNNING A SCAM TO PREY ON MYSTERY SHOPPERS. They even call themselves "Service Intelligence" on their website. THEY ARE A BOGUS COMPANY. They even provided a phone number (519) 991-3103, and Afax number (705) 770-0235.

Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to provide as much detail as possible.
August 03, 2007 01:17PM
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More About Scams


Kimmer1970
Posts:
I received the same Mystery shop offer today but it came from mysteryshoppersamerica.com and the moneygram was to be wired to Andrew William in Winnipeg,Manitoba Canada.
August 03, 2007 03:15PM
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NYHoward
Posts:7
Thanks for the alert! This is really scary! We all have to protect ourselves. I have NEVER given my SS # on a form -- I always use 000-00-0000. If I make over $600, THEN I will release my info. If the company will not let me shop for them without it, too bad. There are plenty of others!
August 03, 2007 08:45PM
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CHESAMPS
Posts:30
I have a friend who is now interested in mystery shopping. She signed up with 2 companies and the one in Theresa's post was one of them! It was the same story all around. She was smart enough to know as soon as she saw the check it was a scam.
August 04, 2007 05:42PM
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trishwishes
Posts:
I've had David Cole contact me today. Previously Mr. Kelly Bob and Jennifer Poe.
All 3 are with in one week. Weird? Or is it a full moon?
If anyone knows of any good by any of these folks let me know otherwise they are just scalping us hardworking mystery shoppers.
August 13, 2007 03:34AM
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b4chandler
Posts:
Another good company to report these type of scams to is the Internet Crime Complaint Center [www.ic3.gov] I've submitted some of my "phishing" emails to them.
August 13, 2007 12:01PM
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mic
Posts:
I have been contacted by some scammers also. I don't mean to sound insulting, but if someone offers to send you money on the condition that you cash it and send it back........ "If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, walks like a duck it is a duck" or a con/scammer. I have found that the safest and sure way to not get taken is by not answering, and then blocking emails from those types. Also use another email address from a free email site, yahoo, gmail, hotmail etc. If the company is asking for you to fill in a form with SS#, use the 000-00-000 method. Look to see if they have a toll free #, & ask them to fax or email there business license, certificate of operations & their certificate to collect or pay taxes. If they wont send any of those things to you chances are they are bogus. You can also call the bank that the check has been issued from to verify funds & the accounts authenticity. I called a bank in Vermont when I received a check to do something up front, then I was suppossed to evaluate the bank that I cashed it in on their "Professionalism". I asked the teller about the check, he was all set to cash it against my account. Since I raised the question about the check, "thinking I was doing a good job" that same check number had been presented to 7 differnt banks, & the owner of the company had closed the account due to fraud. It is one more to add to the pile of "HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF GOOD PEOPLE"!!

My most recent problem was I was confirmed to do 2 shops. I went to their site confrimed the shops, & received a confirmationt that I was scheduled. I did the shops & could not log into the site to fill out the survey of the shops. Now they are not going to pay me for the shops, I told them that I will turn them into the FTC & ic3. I am waiting to hear back from them.

I am sorry if this is long winded, but there is alot to share so others don't get shafted.

Good luck to all,
Mic
August 27, 2007 03:50PM
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Charlene
Posts:
I just posted about this same company. David Coleman was also the person who contacted me, but he was from Shoppers smart inc. I just spoke with the police here in my home town and the police in florida where the check was supposedly from. I also contacted the company on the check. I also had to give them my personal information, and I have had no luck with putting fraud alerts on my credit reports. I've never had to deal with any of this before so I'm not sure who to contact to protect my identity. If someone could post this information I would appreciate it.
September 04, 2007 06:05PM
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nwazshopper
Posts:259
Thought this might help if you, or someone you know, has received these, or any other,types of "fraulent" checks:

To learn more about the Federal Trade Commission's information on cashiers check scams, visit the FTC Alert on the topic). [www.ftc.gov]


If you think you’ve been targeted by a counterfeit check scam, report it to the following agencies:


The Federal Trade Commission: Visit [www.ftc.gov] or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).


The U.S. Postal Inspection Service: Visit [www.usps.com] or call your local post office. The number is in the Blue Pages of your local telephone directory.



Your state or local consumer protection agencies: Visit [www.naag.org] for a list of state Attorneys General, or check the Blue Pages of your local telephone directory for appropriate phone numbers.
September 04, 2007 11:13PM
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Soukii
Posts:
Do not register with SHOPPERS SMART, Inc (http://www.shopperssmartinc.com/) it is the scam website that "David Coleman" gets his victims from. I just realized that I registered with that site during a registration "blitz" I went on a couple weeks ago, I hope I didn't give my SSN (which I usually don't do, but it was late). Please let me know if anyone has any luck with finding out more about this company.
September 11, 2007 11:58PM
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June
Posts:
This is very upsetting. We give our info freely and it is a chance we should not be takeing.
I think we should not be made to give our ss# out until after we have completed a job. That is not asking to much is it??
September 19, 2007 11:41PM
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nwazshopper
Posts:259
June -

Just enter 000-00-000 in any registrations that ask for your SS# upfront. If you get a job from a company, you can always go back in and "update" your profile information. That way, the 90% of companies (or their employees) that you register with but that DON'T have any shops for you won't have your actual #.

You can also get a free EIN number from the IRS and use THAT to register with.
September 20, 2007 10:37PM
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herronnichol
Posts:5
Theresa,

I had the exact same thing happen to me. I received the check and checked it out and found out it was a scam. Should I be worried and contact people and Who? to check out for my identity. I dont give out my ss# to anyone. I would love to mystery shop, but I am so scared of this happening to me. How do you know if the company is real. You find everything out over the internet and that makes me scared and wonder who is on the other end. I received other postal money orders to so now im worried what to do. Do you mystery shop and really get paid? If so how and for who. How do I check them out? Thank you very much.

Nichol Herron
September 21, 2007 01:31PM
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Docrw673
Posts:24
www.serviceintelligence is a ok company. They do ****** brands in S Texas and I have had no problem with them.

EDIT: PLEASE DO NOT REVEAL A MYSTERY SHOPPING COMPANY'S CLIENTS.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/23/2007 04:02PM by JacobJ.
September 23, 2007 03:33PM
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Java
Posts:
I recieved the same check plus I have had guys calling me saying they were from the Government Bureau of Interest rates and they were going to lower all of my interest rates to 6%%
Sure sounds good doesn't it?
Another one of those too good to be true.
Watch ur back time.
Jan
September 24, 2007 05:39PM
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a_one_shopper
Posts:15
I received the same offer and check in the mail. The ironic part in that there is a legit company called Service Intelligence. I actually do alot of work for them. You do have to be carefull when sending your info, but it is not always easy to determine the legit companies. Use you instinct. I always look for a Better Business logo and pay-pal connections. Pay-pal does investigate companies that use their services. Good luck!
Jody In Illinois
September 26, 2007 10:34AM
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gentlesky0
Posts:197
Th FBI doesn't care; they get hundreds of calls a day. They suggest you call the bank the check is written on, to notify the falsified check writer. How can we tell?

If they use Prophet or Sassie as their database hardware (Sassie is NOT a site, it is a program),it means they have joined a group that specializes in customer research (what we do). They are probably safe.

Go to the site, not for shoppers, but to lure clients. Read the materials. Do they seem real? Frauds can be creative, but if you have a layered presentation, they would figure that anyone wise enough to dig that deeply is not a good potential mark. Just take the main name plus dot com out of the address; that almost always works. And it is interesting to do it with the shop companies we know and love.

Do what you do with any job; wait for references. But if I tell you I love Jancyn, do it NOW or you won't sign up at all. The procrastination syndrome. Searching on the name almost always brings up the site, then look for the buzz word "mystery shopping". I have two full columns in my bookmarks, from adding any site I see WHEN I see it. There are lists everywhere, on sites you can trust.

I dare you...... search for Jancyn (they are going to owe me big).

Before I sound all smug, I got zinged. They got my credit card and charged $500. If they ask you to get a free trial, three from the silver group, 3 from the gold group and three from the platinum group, RUN! It was my first week as a shopper. But there are some good psuedo shopping sites; Panda, iPod, I don't usually mess with them, but they are there.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, and run a good virus/spyware program. As much as the shop houses like you to use Internet Explorer, I stay with Mozilla Firefox; they have debugging features built in, and a recovery program if you lose your data. You cannot avoid them, but you don't have to invite them to set up housekeeping. And a bad one can make you have the great experience of......................buying a new harddrive.

Wannabe scheduler/editor
October 01, 2007 10:33PM
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a_one_shopper
Posts:15
Hi everyone, I received an e-mail last week from a Mr. David Coleman asking me if I was interested in doing some work for his company as a Mistery shopper. Notice that Mystery is spelled wrong? That was my first clue that he was a scam artist. I e-mailed back and sai yes. Today I got another e-mail from him saying that he sent off my first assignment in the mail and I was to carry it out at ANY wal-mart, then call him. Beware of these e-mails people. I bet in the next few ays I will get a very large check in the mail. I have no idea how they get our information as shoppers, but they do. Just wanted to give everyone a heads up.
Jody in Illinois
October 03, 2007 09:38PM
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nwazshopper
Posts:259
If you do...and I'm sure that you will...be sure to keep ALL of the information that you get and report it to the authorities posted above.
October 03, 2007 10:48PM
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garzilla
Posts:
I received a similar offer from MonsterMarketPlace - Mystery Shopper. Alain Badak is listed as the Director. It was a very large cashier's check with a list of places to shop as a training exercise. They did NOT ask for ANY information on me. They said they already had it all. I asked if they wanted my SS# and they said now, they already have all my information. I asked the bank about the check and they said it was real. Has anyone heard of this company? The name is a generic name, not like the others I have seen or you have listed here.
October 18, 2007 10:02AM
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a_one_shopper
Posts:15
I am signed up with over 80 companies and I have not heard of MonsterMarketPlace. If the bank says the bank is real then I say do your shops. I will suggest that you do not offer your social security to anyone though. Good luck. Keep us posted on how things turn out wih the check.
Jojo in Illinois
October 18, 2007 10:13AM
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garzilla
Posts:
Well, although I asked the bank when I deposited the check about the check and they said it was fine - they just called that it came back and I now owe the bank for that amount. Great! So I guess I fpund this site too late.
October 18, 2007 10:43AM
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reiser07
Posts:3
Hi all
Look out for weissmans research group after we cashed a check for 3900 and did the assignments they stopped payment on the check and we are now 3770.89 in the hole. Thanks to them our home is in forecloser and we are 4700 total in the hole due to Joseph soludo and Lewis clayton who got another 1000 of our money Do not trust anyone from Nigeria so watch your tails out there
January 17, 2008 02:47AM
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reiser07
Posts:3
Hi all
If weissmans research group sends you a check throw it out. After we did the asignment they stopped payment on check. We are now 3770.89 in the hole. Also is Joseph Soludo or Lewis Clayton offers you a loan dont send them money they are from Nigeria and are scammers like the rest of their stupid africa country
January 17, 2008 02:56AM
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nwazshopper
Posts:259
I have posted this in a couple of places:

IF YOU GET A LARGE CHECK (cashiers or otherwise), DON'T CASH IT! Not even if the bank says it's "real" before you do so.

Inevitably, it WILL get returned and YOU will have to pay the money back to the bank. REAL Mystery Shopping Companies DO NOT send out money and ask shoppers to cash the check, keep a portion of it and send the rest back to them (or anywhere else). PERIOD!

Afterall, they don't know you or, for sure, if you'll even send any money back to them. Why would they send you a REAL check for thousands of dollars and then HOPE that you will send most of it back to them after you've cashed it?!? Why not just keep the check for thousands instead of only a small fee? Only someone who KNOWS that the check is no good would risk sending you "thousands" and HOPE that you will cash it and send them the majority of it back. Afterall, they've got virtually nothing to really lose if you don't!

Good Rule of Thumb: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!".

Don't forget, the "normal" range for fees paid by REAL MSC's for doing a mystery shop is usually only $4-$50. SOME shops will pay higher, but if they are over that, you might want to do some research among other shoppers first. Especially if it's for a "new" company that you haven't already shopped for and received payment as promised.

Sorry for your "situation". Unfortunately, as they say, "Experience is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it is also usually the most expensive!"
January 17, 2008 02:15PM
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jrbutterfly2007
Posts:8
Just wanted to say Thankyou for all your wonderful insights. Newbies seem to be the ones to get burned and cannot afford the monetary loss or the emotional humiliation that comes from these experiances.
January 20, 2008 01:36AM
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ugogirl000
Posts:1
I had received a letter with a $3600 check on Feb. 14, 2008. The contents of the letter had an application, no ssn required, and directions regarding the assignment after verification of the application. The company name is SHOPPERS TRENDSOURCE inc, out of Pasadena Texas. I have searched online trying to find info about this company and have not had any luck, nor have I heard anymore from this company since I sent my application on 2/14/08. If someone knows of this company, please respond to my email address ugogirl000@gmail.com
Sincere Thanks
March 03, 2008 08:21AM
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Docrw673
Posts:24
Again I want to say that www.serviceintelligence.com is a legimate company. I have done at least 20 shops for them and have always received my pay. Just remember they may use service intelligence in their materials but the web address is different.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2008 08:42AM by Docrw673.
March 03, 2008 08:40AM
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shop 4 u
Posts:393
I also work for Serviceintelligence and they are above board. This is awful and it's good to have this forum to find out about these things. I have read not to cash any large checks sent.....so, I haven't been caught, glad to know about this.
March 03, 2008 03:46PM
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sneakers
Posts:2,889
The confusion about Service Intelligence might be because sometimes companies merge, and keep one name while the website has another. Trendsource = MSI, MarketForce=Shop n chek, GfK=Cybershop. It's confusing.

Shoppers Trendsouce is a scam company.

If in doubt about a strange company, you can ask HERE! or at the other 2 forums. smiling smiley

I've Googled a few, and if they're scams, you'll find material on them. If they're legit, you'll find that too.
March 03, 2008 10:18PM
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