I checked my usual resources and found no mention of them either by shoppers or as a legitimate company with which to sign up. When I googled, the Target Marketing that came up is indeed Canadian and is the middleman for goods being brought in from China. I found nothing on their site that indicated they did any mystery shopping or staff development programs, so I suspect that this is not the company in question.
My intuition tells me scam, but if you can give us a link to a website I'll see what can be found out about it. Is this something that found you (as in an email) or something you found?
I guessed what happened is somehow I got signed up for mystery shopping, and I received in the mail a cashier's check for almost $5 grand with specific instructions on going in and buying $167.00 in merchandise as a training program. And then I am to turn around and do a money gram for 4200.00 which 200.00 of it is for the service fees. So it states that whatever I buy with the 167.00 I get to keep along with the other 500.00. After all that is said and done I am to call this number they gave me with the confirmation number and receipt numbers as well. I can't imagine someone just handing over $5,000.00 without some kind of strings attached. What do you think.
Definitely a SCAM! Do not attempt to cash the check as it is bogus. Definitely do not send them any $$. This is a scam that has been going around long enough that you will find warnings about it on almost every mystery shopping company website. You can check with your local law enforcement but they see this garbage so much they probably won't be interested. So rip up the check, put it in the trash and breathe a sigh of relief you didn't get taken. And yes, it is mail fraud and all that so you could turn it over to the Post Office if you are passing by that way.
Sorry it isn't better news I know of no legitimate mystery shopping company that sends you money BEFORE you shop, though I understand that there are a few that might advance money for hefty purchase requirements if they could find nobody else to do the shop and lay out their own money up front. Certainly none would send you money just ASSUMING you would go do shops. So your antennae that picked up that something was oddball here are working just fine.
I find myself wondering if there is a "leak" in the data base of one of the mystery shopping companies that gets a lot of newbie shoppers signing up. You rarely hear of shoppers who have been around for a while getting the bogus checks. Although I neither want to spend the time or energy trying to collect the data to determine what all these folks have in common, it really does make you wonder. And I do appreciate that many many of the mystery shopping companies and the MSPA have the scam warning on the intro page to their websites.
I went to that link Jacob provided and WOW!! All of us people getting targeted I bet are the ones that are new to the system who are not aware of how things work. If I had not had my bank account messed with last week I probably would have fell for it. I'm still trying to figure out how I got signed up for mystery shopping in the first place. I've been doing a lot of research trying to decide if I want to get into something like this. After receiving this SCAM however it makes me question how legit it actually is.
A quick thought I registered at Shadowshopper.com I wonder if it is them that is sending out the scams. I keep spamming their emails because they want me to pay for their services such as they are and of course I refuse to pay anyone to give me a job that I don't really need. Just a thought.
Sachadwell, there is definitely a legitimate mystery shopping business. It is neither glamorous nor highly lucrative. It is, however, fun most of the time. And there is a sense of accomplishment when you go back to a location that was horrid and find it has cleaned up its act. While you may not have been the straw that broke the camel's back to get change to happen, there at least can be the fantasy that you played some small part in it.
Major advantages for shoppers are some nice "perks" of having your own business and being able to schedule work to fit your available time.