Coincidence?? Or what

So, I completed 2 bank shops for a mystery shop company. They were different banks. 1 month after opening the first account, I get a call about fraudulent activity.
Then a couple weeks after opening the other account, I get an email alerting me about changes to my account. I find it very interesting that both accounts were from the SAME mystery shop company...this has never happened to me before. Has anyone else experienced this?

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I came back to mystery shopping about a decade and a half ago. I have opened (and closed) many bank accounts during that time and opened (and closed) many credit cards during that time that were done as shops. I have not seen the situations you describe nor heard about them from other shoppers.

The situations I have seen are: a scheduler candidate being given access to the database and making an unauthorized copy of it for ???; companies having their databases hacked; companies going out of business and their computers being seized and sent to auction for unpaid debts (presumably those computers not having been erased); a scheduler turning over her database of shopper email addresses (probably just sold us) to someone who solicited us for face creams and similar junk.

During that decade and a half one of my credit card numbers was used in rapid succession for three purchases at local drugstores and at a casino on the other side of the country. The credit card company notified me promptly and took care of all four uses. My card was likely skimmed and the data sold. The card company sent me a new card/number.

There have been two attempts to open new credit cards in my name, both of which were thwarted.

I had the direct deposit of someone else thrown into a checking account I opened on a shop that I could not get rid of to close the account before it started collecting fees. I could see who the money belonged to but the research on the web could not yet get me to get her phone number and call her unlisted phone number. I did try to contact her through Facebook with no response and eventually went to the Federal Reserve with a complaint, which led to the money being removed from my account to a 'suspense account' so I could close my account. Her account number varied from mine in that two of the digits were reversed. Even at the local bank level they could see her account, but could not fix it without a direct request from her and they would not contact her to tell her.

My best guess is that you have a coincidence with two inept banks.
I am glad that you have mentioned the possibility because if others have had the same experience they will probably speak up. I responded because at this point we have all had our personal information breached frequently enough that we tend to get nutsy (paranoid?) trying to make sense of it all.

I personally am at the stage that I don't fantasize that ANY information I give to ANYONE will remain confidential. They may intend to keep it confidential, but as soon as it goes into a computer it can become common knowledge. If someone wipes out my bank account I have a spare bank account elsewhere to keep me going while the first bank restores my money. If someone clones my credit card, the credit card company gets to sort it out as I have very limited liability. Several of my credit cards give me free monthly updates of my credit score, number of accounts and inquiries. If I see something untoward I will use my entitlement to free annual credit reports to attack the issues.

Keep your passwords strong. Use different passwords for social accounts than shopping accounts and still different passwords for financial accounts.

For your specific situation, check what change(s) were made and ask who authorized the changes. Fix the accounts, change your passwords and sleep well at night.
I have been shopping for a number of years and do not provide my actual birth date to MSCs! The one I use is not far off, so it is demographically accurate, but different enough that it is clearly not a typo. I'm sure I could run into difficulties with some MSCs on this issue, but so far there has been no problem. This also had no effect on tax reporting on the one occasion I had enough income from a single company to receive a 1099. But hopefully, anyone who might get hold of my MSC info by nefarious means and attempt to misuse it WOULD have a problem.
I have opened and closed a TON of bank accounts and credit cards since 2005, as a shopper. Not only has this not affected my credit score, it has not provided ANY signs if fraud. That has happened only when a credit card was apparently duplicated and used to buy electronics and fuel 900 miles from my location. Bank caught it the same day and asked about it. They shut that down, pronto, and issues a new card to me. Moreover, it was not a cc opened for a shop. It was one that I had opened years before I ever did MS.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
This may not be relevant, but has this happened to anyone else. I had an account with B/A years ago, pre -Mystery shopping, which has been closed for over 17 years. I did a B/A job last year and had to give my real info. They had my name in their computer, so, question is, how long do they keep your information? When MSC
says you can not have an account with them, this shouldn't count, or should it as far as doing current jobs.

Live consciously....


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2019 06:21PM by Irene_L.A..
I certainly was freaked out when 8 years after I closed my account with them I was still in their database and indeed my online password still worked. I was there on a shop to open a new checking account and the gal wanted to just reopen my old one. I suggested a 'fresh start' and she complied, which allowed me to complete the shop. 17 years and still in their system is frightful and more than a little obscene/abusive.
I think banks have a lot longer of time to keep records. My grandmother passed in the 80s and when I did an unclaimed funds claim on her, I found out that there was a zero balance account that wasn't closed because of some sort of glitch, even though she closed it in the 70s (she left the country, so she would have no reason to keep it).

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
Opening credit cards do have an effect on your credit score although negligible. Mine will go down a point or two. Closing them appears to have no effect.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2019 11:09PM by Madetoshop.
Closing them does have an effect because it lowers your available credit. If you have tons of available credit, it's no big deal. I had a JC Penny card that I used a few times and paid off as soon as I got the bill. They closed my account based on another card that I have through the same "home bank" and my credit went down 20 points because I lost $1000 worth of available credit.

@Madetoshop wrote:

Opening credit cards do have an effect on your credit score although negligible. Mine will go down a point or two. Closing them appears to have no effect.

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
A banker recently told me that closing the credit card has a negative effect due to loss of available credit as the previous poster said. Another banker told me that closing a checking account that hasn't been open for at least a year is also bad. I don't watch my credit score very closely so am not sure.
I have never noticed a change for closing. CC accounts and I have closed many. I do get alerts saying my credit score has gone down if I owe 3-5K on my CCs. Usually a point. Other than opening a BOA MM acct. for a MS shop and then closing it, my banking has been intact i.e. no closures.
Irene -

Thee are legal requirements for how long banks MUST keep records, but I don't think that they are prevented from keeping records longer. As far as opening a new account, the MSC does not want you to currently have an open account (although some DO want you to have an open account, and want you to inquire or even open another account).

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@jdoj wrote:

A banker recently told me that closing the credit card has a negative effect due to loss of available credit as the previous poster said. Another banker told me that closing a checking account that hasn't been open for at least a year is also bad. I don't watch my credit score very closely so am not sure.

I had a significant drop in my credit score when my oldest credit card (23 years) was closed by the bank for inactivity. That meant my oldest card was now only 11 years. That old card had about a $5000 line of credit and that probably contributed to the decline as well because it was that much less credit being extended to me. I did request more credit on other cards and within a couple of months my credit score had recovered. About every six months I either open a new card or raise the credit on an existing one. Cards get paid in full each month. Credit score wobbles between about 815 and 835.
I watch my credit score like a hawk. I've seen more negative outcomes for closing a cc than for opening a new line of credit.

Also, 3 years ago, I paid off my car (early) and my student loan (early) in the same month. My score dropped 50 points (!!) There was no other credit incident that month, just the two pay offs...

It did go back up, but it took about 4 months
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