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Mystery Shopping Discussion

Mystery Shop Scams
Posts:1
I have done mystery shops with Service Intelligence before and I haven't had any problems at all. Is this one of the fraud accounts to watch for? If so let me know and I will watch for any incoming shops. Thanks. diannlynn
September 16, 2007 04:49PM
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More About Scams


Posts:259
Nope...Service Intelligence is a legitimate (though fairly poor fee paying, in MY opinion) company.
September 18, 2007 12:42AM
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Posts:2
There is a company impersonating Datatron (my company) and sending out Bank Checks in large amounts and asking them to cash the check and send a money gram. This is a SCAM! Please do not be fooled into thinking this is part of Datatron (www.usd-datatron.com). They are going under the name of Datatron Marketing and Evaluation Services (or something similar). We do mostly financial shops and we would never send a bank check to someone without having them do the shop first. Please do not get taken in by them. If you are unsure, please visit our website and call us or even call the better business bureau to check us out.
February 05, 2008 04:39PM
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Posts:147
Service Intelligence is legitimate. I do over 30 shops a month for them and they pay right on schedule. I know that the last day of the month my check will be deposited in my account. I would not be worried about signing with them at all. All of the schedulers that I have worked with are very friendly and easy to work with also.
February 05, 2008 07:31PM
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Posts:18,043
Datatron the real company is a super company to work with. I only wish I saw more shops with them because they are fun to figure out how to get what is needed. I only got a half dozen jobs or so last year from them and have "pushed all the buttons" on the web site for areas I work in hopes of seeing more this year!
February 05, 2008 08:06PM
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Posts:3
OKAY! I think I have also been victimized by some company sending out
large checks. Here's the info: The company is called Chubbline Research Group.
The check is from Inserv (Integrated Services)LLC and drawn on the Bank of Oklahoma.
The amount of the check is $2500. I am NOT supposed to cash the check until I fax back an 'acceptance' form.
After that, I shop at Wal-Mart for $100 worth of stuff, and send two Moneygrams, each for $1000. I have NOT sent back ANYTHING yet.
Little flags go up and alarm bells ring. Anybody heard of Chubbline Research Group? They give 2 addresses: one is a P.O. Box in Ontario, Canada and the other is in New Jersey.
I'm really new to this and kind of have this 'itch' to cash that dang check anyway-buuuuttttt-I don't need the hassle of bogus 'research'.
Thanks!
February 25, 2008 02:06AM
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Posts:2
I would tend to think it is a scam. Anytime little flags go off, I tend to think it is too good to be true. And not to knock all Canadian companies, but the other one that is a scam is also from Canada. If you really want to check this out, call the bank phone number on the cashiers check and see if it is legitimate. Then call Bank of Oklahoma directly and check with them to see if the check is legit. Tell them you think it is a scam and can they help you and give them the address printed on the check. Good luck!
February 25, 2008 08:05AM
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Posts:18,043
Or just save your time and money and rather than make phone calls or send faxes or any of the rest, just throw away the check and be glad you did not get snared. In Mystery Shopping nobody sends you a check up front, especially not up front "out of the blue". The only shops I have ever seen that require you to send items of value back to them are ones where YOU self-selected to do the job. There are a few, such as buying a mall gift card for around $50 to send back to them and these are also very clear that there is an alternative to sending them the gift card.

So what you have here is a scam. My guess is that you never signed up with any "Chubbline Research Group" and that they have never had a scheduler call you about the job, so there is little reason to assume it is legitimate. While apparently some legitimate companies have had their names used in the scams, only new shoppers would possibly believe this is how the business works.
February 25, 2008 10:07AM
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Posts:3
Well-this check and information came 'out of the blue' alright. A little bit more information here.
Chubbline Research Group calls itself 'a division of Myusteryshoponline. com'. NOW-I KNOW that there IS a Mysteryshoponline. com, that is how I got the information to sign up for this group.
I also vaguely recall going to Mysteryshoponline.com a couple of years ago and filling out some information there. But that was at LEAST two years ago-not currently.
Gotta hand these folks SOME credit though-all their paper LOOKS legit. And the keyword is LOOKS!!!
Thanks for 'rescuing' me!
February 25, 2008 12:26PM
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Posts:18,043
It is sad how many folks are likely to figure that the scam is real and get burned. You can feel good about your instincts that you explored a bit to find out. "Something for nothing" usually leaves you with more "nothing" than "something".

But on the other hand, if you are interested in mystery shopping, it is a legitimate business. There are a number of legitimate companies that do indeed have independent contractor mystery shoppers out there observing and reporting what they see. The money is not great (an average shop pays $10-12) and the reimbursements aren't the "Fabulous $500 Shopping Spree" that is promoted by a number of places that have a ton of "Offers" for you to fill out and perform before you supposedly get your reward shopping spree. Most generally the reimbursements are from $1 to coverage for specific required purchases for dinner for two at a casual dining restaurant. A major advantage is having your own business with the tax advantages that brings as well as having the flexibility to decide when and where you will work.
February 25, 2008 12:52PM
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Posts:18
I got an email today from a company in the UK stating that they sold a lot of leather products here in the states and they wanted me to represent them by telling their clients that they could send the payments by check to me. I would then cash their checks, keeping 10% for myself, and getting the rest in money orders. Then send the money orders to the company in UK. Light-bulb went off when I read "in the UK".

In these days and times, there are so many schemes out there.
February 25, 2008 07:01PM
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Posts:18,043
Now if you ran a leather goods store in this country or sold leather goods on eBay it might (notice MIGHT) be possible that a legitimate company would contact you. But they would probably not be up front about what you would "earn" and how the money would be transmitted but rather just an initial inquiry to start a conversation and negotiation. It is the "out of the blue" stuff that it amazes me that folks don't question.
February 25, 2008 07:07PM
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Posts:259
Trendsource has issued this warning to shoppers:

SPECIAL Fraud Notification
TrendSource, Inc. has absolutely NO affiliation with Shoppers TrendSource, inc.


We have been contacted by numerous persons regarding a national mystery shopper scam involving cashing fraudulent checks. Apparently, a person receives an unsolicited notice stating they have the opportunity to become a mystery shopper. Instructions are provided to make certain purchases, cash a check (usually a very high amount) and wire a portion to a third party. Unfortunately, the checks are bogus, and they are returned NSF leaving the "mystery shopper" who cashed the check liable for the amount.

Shoppers TrendSource, inc. has used a PO Box in Pasadena, TX with a Canadian telephone number (area code 780), but may be using others addresses as well.

TrendSource, Inc. is located in San Diego, CA and has absolutely no affiliation with Shoppers TrendSource, inc. We are a legally registered business providing legitimate Mystery Shopping Services to Fortune 1000 companies.

For further information, please visit:

Consumer Watch - WHAS11.com
OCC - Washington, DC
[www.marketwire.com]
February 26, 2008 11:11AM
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Posts:259
From the "V" board...


COMPETITION BUREAU CANADA

Feb 21, 2008 17:51 ET

Competition Bureau and Toronto Strategic Partnership Investigation Leads to Arrests in Secret Shopper Scam

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2008) - The Competition Bureau announced today that following a search conducted yesterday with its law enforcement partners in the Toronto Strategic Partnership, two operators of an alleged "Secret Shopper" scam have been arrested.

Christopher Nduka and Alicia Obermuller of Brampton, Ontario, operated an alleged counterfeit cheque scam out of their home by mailing letters to U.S. residents stating they had won a lottery or were selected to be a secret shopper. The recipients were instructed to deposit enclosed cheques and wire a portion of the funds back to the operators of the alleged scam. However, after the victims deposited the counterfeit cheques and sent the funds, the cheques bounced and victims lost their money. It is estimated that hundreds of U.S. residents have fallen victim to this alleged scam, and have been bilked at least $150,000 in total to date.

Nduka and Obermuller were arrested yesterday after officers found shredded copies of the "Secret Shopper" solicitation letters in their home. A cheque printer and blank cheque stock were also found. The two accused have been allegedly operating fraudulent schemes such as "The Advance Fee Lottery" and "The Secret Shoppers" since January 2005.

"The Bureau is pleased to have undertaken this enforcement initiative against mass marketing fraud in conjunction with its partners," said Andrea Rosen, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Competition.

The Bureau is one of the founding members of the Toronto Strategic Partnership, which also includes the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Service, the RCMP, Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, PhoneBusters, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the UK's Office of Fair Trading. The partnership is a multi-law enforcement agency, formed in response to ever increasing cross-border mass fraudulent marketing schemes.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency. We contribute to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.



For more information, please contact

For media enquiries:
External Relations and Public Affairs Branch
Pamela Wong
Communications Advisor
819-953-7734

or

For general enquiries:
Competition Bureau
Information Centre
819-997-4282 or Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
TDD (hearing impaired): 1-800-642-3844


Nice to see that they're "on" this!
February 26, 2008 11:16AM
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Posts:18,043
I was just thinking "Three cheers!!" myself!
February 26, 2008 04:56PM
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Posts:3
Amen to THAT! By the way-my sister-an attorney in Canada says that
we shouldn't underestimate the FBI's interest in these type of things.
I believe that forging checks is a Federal offense and well-I'm going to call them and also
my state's office of Consumer Affairs. My letter didn't come from Toronto-I have all the paper except for the
envelope it came in. I DID fill out the form, but didn't fax it back so they have no record of my personal information other
than what they used to find me in the first place.
February 26, 2008 11:34PM
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Posts:5
I am not a mystery Shopper yet, but hoping to become one. But the letter and check I received in the mail from Canada (it had no return address, but it did have canadapost stamped on it), put me of a little. It was from Shopmetrics. It stated that they were New a division of MysteryShopOnline.com in New York, New York. They sent me a check for $3710.00. I was to sign a contract and fax it back in, before I deposited the check (yeah so they could know when to stop payment) then I could begin my shopping. $150 at Wal-Mart or K-mart then a money gram in the amount of $2790.00 plus $160 in fees. I would need to contact my Assignment coordinator Steve Ruzna for the person I would be sending the money to, them I was to spend $150 at Home Depot, Sears, or J.C Penny, and the remaining $500 was my salary and training. I said yeah right. I have all the paper work still, but was at stand still as what to do with it. But after reading all of your post I know what to do. THANK YOU!!! So if you see this envelops come across your mailbox you know it's a scam.

Sheila
March 02, 2008 10:54AM
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Posts:147
The best thing to do with it is put it in your shredder and get rid of it. I think you had already figured that out. I Would hate to see you out all of that money.
March 02, 2008 11:05AM
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Posts:18,043
I'm sure they will come with a lot of "familiar names" to try to make shoppers feel they are legitimate. But real mystery shopping is, unfortunately, never dashingly "too good to be true". The reality is that with only rare exceptions will you be reimbursed more than a few bucks at a retailer and you had to put up the money and be reimbursed rather than them sending you money "to shop". And there is just no way that anything but a scam would send you more money than you were due and ask you to wire or money gram or otherwise untraceably return part of what they sent you back to them. That is a Confidence Game practiced by "Con Artists" and from which we get the term that you were "conned".
March 02, 2008 11:09AM
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