"Beware of anyone asking you to - send money now, give a credit card, bank account or social security number, to claim a prize."
Chief William Bratton LAPD
Scam Alert: Mystery Shopper Scam To Evaluate Wire Transfer Services
The Internet Crime Complaints Center (IC3) has recently received over 250 complaints reporting a new twist to the online employment scam. The scam involves individuals who responded to online ads or were contacted via e-mail as a result of their resume being posted on job websites. The perpetrator posed as a research company and requested participants to complete a paid survey regarding services provided at wire transfer locations to improve the effectiveness of the company's money-transfer services.
Complainants were hired and then mailed a cashier's check or money order. They received instructions to cash the check/money order at their local bank, keep a portion as payment, and wire the remaining amount via wire transfer to a designated recipient. Victims were then asked to immediately e-mail their employer with the transfer number, amount wired, recipient's name and address, and the name of the wire transfer location evaluated. Upon sending the information, victims received a questionnaire form regarding their overall wire transfer experience to complete and return. Those who did not promptly follow through with the instructions received threatening e-mails stating if they did not respond within 24 hours, their information would be forwarded to the FBI and they could face 25 years in jail.
Shortly after the transactions, victims were informed by their banks that the checks were counterfeit and were held responsible for reimbursing their banks. Most victims owed their bank over $2,500.