Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Too Good to be True

You’re hired! That’s more or less what an employment letter claims in this latest version of the classic fake check or money order scam. These scams have also included postal money orders at times. In this latest adaptation, a letter from a legitimate sounding market research company is sent to unsuspecting people claiming to have selected them for a unique employment opportunity. The details of the opportunity to become a customer service evaluator are outlined in the well-crafted job offer, but don’t sign on the dotted line just yet. The prospect of becoming a mystery shopper is actually a scam in disguise and you should become familiar with it to ensure that you and those you know can avoid becoming a victim.

The customer service evaluator position comes with a high hourly rate of pay and a simple probation training assignment. All an individual has to do to pass the training and accept the position is to cash a check or money ordered enclosed in the package of material, wire the bulk of the funds back to the company, and retain the rest for hourly pay, wire fees, and other expenses.  The packet also includes an evaluation form for the new evaluator to complete regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of the wire service. There is also a weekly time schedule attached that needs to be filled out to verify what hours the new employee will be available for work.

All of the material added to the packet is designed to emphasize the legitimacy of the program. The congratulatory letter looks authentic. The attached forms appear to support the employment offer well. The enclosed check even looks genuine. Scammers are becoming very sophisticated in their art for one sole purpose – taking what you have and making it theirs.

If you come across an offer that seems too good to be true, don’t let your enthusiasm replace skepticism. Be cautious and examine the offer with piercing scrutiny. Answer the following questions to begin the process of analyzing authenticity:

-         Is the offer from a foreign country?
-         Is the offer unsolicited?
-         Does the offer require you to send money?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, the offer could be a scam. If you ever receive questionable offers like this in the mail, contact the Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455 or go to their website at:

For more information on this latest mystery shopper scam as well as an actual example, go to:

What other mail fraud scams are you aware of? Share your experiences here.


Betty R. said...

My son was offered something like that. He thought he had a real job. People should be aware of scams like this. Great job!

Anonymous said...

I hate to adds in the Newspapers that advertise for Postal Jobs starting at $20.00-$30.00 per hour. I had a customer call and for $99.99 they sent her a booklet that the library has and 2-3 practice test. It also had an application that she was to fill out and turn in at any Post Office location. It was really sad when she found out she had been scammed. I told her that any time you had to pay for apply for a job it is usually a scam. This was a couple pf years back when there was a hiring freeze.

Anonymous said...

I had a customer who was called on the telephone and told he was the winner of the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes. They told him that they needed him to mail a $500money order to an address they gave him so they could process his winning ticket, then the PCH van would show up at his door in a few days with his big check. I told him that it was a scam any time you have to send money to claim a prize, but he was adamant about sending this money order. Needless to say, PCH never showed up. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I recently was able to stop an elderly customer from sending 1500 in cash to a scam outfit. We worked with postal inspection and fortunately kept this person from losing money he couldn't afford to be without. What makes me sad is to know, that most likely, for every scam I prevent (this is the 2nd one I've caught) several others probably get through. I really resent unscrupulous people using the organization I love to scam our elderly residents. Some of my customers receive as many as 70 pieces of solicitation mail a day. And the majority of it is from politicians!!!