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  • Heidi the New Family Member

    As of January 31st, 2018 we have a new edition to the family. Heidi ironically she is a cat. Amanda and I adopted her on December 29th, 2017 after filling out the paperwork on the 27th of December. My father saw the add in his e-mail and told us about her. Amanda thought we should look at her, seeing it could be fate. After finding out her name and story behind her we could not say no.

    She is a sweetheart. We adopted her from the Westfield Animal Shelter. She was hit by a car on Franklin Street and had a fractured pelvis, back in November. On November 2nd she was taken to the vet and treated over night then was sent to another vet to have surgery on November 4th.  Her family at the time found her in the shelter but did not want to pay the vet bills in order to get her back. Heidi then went up for adoption, and she found her way into our hearts. I felt bad for Heidi because she is not a young cat. I knew she would not be the first choice for people at the shelter. People usually like to go for the young cats or kittens. I didn’t want Heidi to spend her remaining years in the shelter.

    We don’t know really how old she is. The owners told the shelter she was 14 but the vet thinks she is 9. You wouldn’t know it by watching her that she was ever in such pain. The way she runs around here and plays she acts like 9 or younger. Amanda refers to Heidi as her “Fur Baby.” In fact, I told Amanda the other day that Heidi does something that Heidi the dog did. Both Heidi’s like to take their wet food out of their bowls and eat it off the floor. Heidi is such a wonderful cat, she settled in with us within hours of arriving. We believe she is telling us that she loves and trusts us by always having to place a paw or two on us at all times.

     

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  • Cashier’s Check Fraud & Scams: How To Spot A Fake

    Cashier’s Check Fraud & Scams: How To Spot A Fake

    Consumers and merchants often rely on the security of cashier’s checks for major transactions such as the purchase of a home, car or jewelry. But “security” in this case simply means that cashier’s checks won’t bounce because the issuing banks take full responsibility for covering payment. They aren’t, however, secure from fraud and scams.

    Printing technology has grown so advanced over recent years that it’s relatively easy for scammers to forge cashier’s checks in their own basements. As a result, even bank employees may find it difficult to detect a fake, and it can take weeks before a counterfeit cashier’s check is discovered. What’s more, if you spend the funds prematurely, you’ll be liable for the unpaid check (and the resulting fees) once the bank discovers it’s fraudulent.

    To help you protect yourself from such crimes, we’ve laid out instructions for verifying the validity of cashier’s checks, spotting the fake ones and reporting an incident if you are ever victimized in a scam below. For general information about cashier’s checks — such as where to buy them and how much they cost — please refer to WalletHub’s Cashier’s Check guide.

    Types Of Cashier’s Check Scams

    Cashier’s check scams come in various forms. The following table details the most common among them:

    Type Of Scam Description Signs It’s A Scam
    Craigslist Scammers offer to:-Buy an item you’re selling-Pay for your services in advance-Rent your apartment or rent their apartment to you

    -Give you a “deal” on merchandise

    -Give you a job (often to “receive customer payments”)

    If you’re selling merchandise, for instance, the scammer will ask you to provide your personal information for printing on a fake cashier’s check that’s usually written in a much higher amount than your asking price.The buyer will then ask you to return the excess amount, claiming he or she made a mistake and hope that you’ll send back legitimate money before you realize the check was fake.
    Secret/Mystery Shopper Scammers claim to be “hiring” people to:-Work from home-Become a secret shopper (often to “assess the quality” of a money transfer service) In the telecommuting scenario, victims receive a fake cashier’s check as a starting bonus but are also asked to cover the cost of “account activation.” Scammers hope to receive account activation funds before the cashier’s checks would normally clear.In the mystery-shopping scam, victims are told to deposit a cashier’s check in their bank account and withdraw the amount in cash. They must then use a money-transfer service to send the funds to the scammer and “evaluate” the service.
    Foreign Lottery Scammers tell victims:-They won the lottery in a foreign country-They received an inheritance from someone’s estate Victims are instructed in a letter to “claim” their lottery winnings or inheritance but must first pay “taxes and fees” before receiving their prize or money. A fake cashier’s check is enclosed to cover those taxes and fees, which the scammer asks the victim to wire back.
    Check Overpayment/
    Online Auction
    Scammers offer to pay by cashier’s check for:-Sale items posted on classified ads or online auction websites The scammer often uses an excuse to write the check in a much higher amount than the sale price then asks the victim to wire back the difference after depositing the check in their bank account.

    How To Spot A Fake Cashier’s Check

    What does a fake cashier’s check look like? It’s hard to tell. Neither consumers nor bank tellers know what to expect because every bank uses a unique design that’s intended to make counterfeiting its cashier’s checks difficult. Fakes also can be hard to distinguish when they’re created using high-quality home scanners and laser printers that lend the checks an appearance of authenticity.

    Look for the signs listed in the following table to help you spot a fake cashier’s check.

    What To Look For Description
    Check Origin A genuine cashier’s check will display a legitimate bank name, but many fakes will too. You can tell a check is fake if you can’t find legitimate information about the issuing bank online or if the check was mailed from overseas (as is often, but not always, the case).
    Check Amount Fakes are often written in an amount far exceeding the amount required, which is intended to coax the victim into wiring back the balance to the scammer.
    Safety Features Fakes are sometimes missing security thread, watermarks, microprints, color-shifting ink, instructions for the bank teller (on the front or back of the check), etc. On the other hand, they may contain these features — but in poor quality.
    Payee Name The payee’s name should already be printed on a cashier’s check (this is done at the bank by a teller). If the payee line is blank, the check is fake.
    Bank Phone Number A genuine cashier’s check always includes a phone number for the issuing bank. That number is often missing on a fake check or is fake itself.
    Suspicious Communication Scammers often communicate with their victims using poor grammar/spelling or vague language. They may also refuse to meet in person or send an email or a text message indicating they’re not from your area.
    Fraud Alert The Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) announces reported fraud cases on its website. If you received a cashier’s check from one of the implicated institutions — especially near the date the fraud was announced — you may have a fake. Keep in mind that the list includes only reported cases.

    How To Verify A Cashier’s Check:

    Although the signs described in the above table may indicate forgery, they do not always guarantee that a cashier’s check is fake. It’s always a good idea to call or visit the bank before cashing or depositing a cashier’s check, whether or not you doubt its validity. However, do not contact the number that’s printed on the check, as it’s likely also a fake. Instead, search for the institution’s phone number online. Sometimes, the scammer will also use a legitimate routing number and account number on a check, so the bank will have to inspect the check for other indications of fraud.

    What To Do If You’re A Victim Of Cashier’s Check Fraud

    Even the most cautious consumers can fall victim to cashier’s check fraud. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, you need to report the crime immediately to the following:

    • The bank where you deposited the check
    • The bank that supposedly issued the check
    • The website or service where you encountered the scammer

    According to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, banks are ordinarily required to reimburse their customers for forged checks. However, that all depends on the circumstances of your case and your state’s laws. The bank can choose to investigate whether you deserve to be reimbursed, a process that may require you to first obtain a police report and file an affidavit.

    However, a bank also can hold you liable for the entire amount of an unpaid cashier’s check then reverse the transaction upon discovering fraud. It will be your responsibility to pursue the party that issued the fraudulent cashier’s check to you.

    If you think the bank did not handle your case properly, seek advice from an attorney about the applicable laws in your state — if you can afford to and if the amount of the check makes the dispute worthwhile. If you earn a low income, you can visit your local legal aid office.

    Other Parties To Notify:

    In addition, you should file a complaint with the following agencies or authorities to warn others and possibly get action on your case:

    Authority Or Agency Types Of Cases Handled
    Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Scams & identity theft in general
    U.S. Postal Inspection Service Mail-based scams & identity theft
    State Attorney General Scams & identity theft in general
    U.S. Secret Service – Financial Crimes Division Bank & check fraud
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Internet Fraud Complaint Center Internet-based scams & identity theft

    Tips For Avoiding Cashier’s Check Fraud

    At some point, most people will buy a car or a house in addition to other major transactions that require a relatively safe payment tool. By following the tips below, you can avoid becoming a victim of a scam or fraud if or when it’s time to use or accept a cashier’s check:

    • Steer Clear Of Strangers: When it comes to financial transactions, a good rule of thumb to follow is to never accept a cashier’s check from someone you don’t know. It also helps to do business only with local people whose identities you can verify through a phone directory, for instance. Many scam artists operate from foreign countries. And if a buyer or customer instructs you to wire back funds before or after depositing a cashier’s check, this should raise a red flag that the check is fake.
    • Go To A Local Bank With Your Buyer: If it’s necessary to accept a cashier’s check for a good or service you’re providing — especially for large transactions — you should ask to meet your customer at a local bank (or a local branch of a big institution). That way, you can instantly verify that a check was issued legitimately. If your customer refuses, it’s a good sign that you’re being conned.
    • Don’t Accept More Than What’s Due: More often than not, a scammer pretending to be a buyer or customer will find an excuse to overpay for an item you’re selling or a service you’re offering. It’s always in your best interest to refuse a cashier’s check in an amount exceeding the actual price you’re asking for. Instead, you should ask the buyer to send you a check with the correct amount. Scam artists will usually refuse to do so.
    • Understand The Difference Between ‘Clearing’ & ‘Funds Availability’: By law, banks must make funds available from certain types of deposits — such as cashier’s checks — by the next day or within a certain amount of time that a bank can justify as “reasonable.” However, available funds does not automatically guarantee that a check has cleared, meaning the Federal Reserve or other clearing unit has verified the validity of a check and that funds are available to cover it. Some checks unfortunately take longer to clear than others. If possible, wait until your cashier’s check has cleared (posted, not pending, on your bank account) before spending or withdrawing the funds. Otherwise, you’ll be liable for the full amount of the check and resulting bank fees.
    • Use PayPal Or A Credit Card: Sometimes, scams work the other way around: you’re a customer buying from a supposed seller. Because cashier’s checks are guaranteed by the banks that issue them, a scammer will find it convenient to accept them to receive immediate payment but never send you the merchandise or provide the service you were seeking. If you’re responding to an ad online (e.g., Craigslist) or an online auction site, opt to pay with PayPal or a credit card instead. PayPal lends anonymity while credit cards provide $0 blanket liability for unauthorized transactions.

    Cashier’s Checks: Where To Get One, Cost & More

    cashiers-check

    A cashier’s check is a type of check issued by a bank or credit union and signed by a cashier or teller. Because the funds are drawn directly against the issuing bank’s cash reserves — not a customer’s personal account — the checks cannot bounce. The cashier’s signature, or “endorsement,” on the checks represents this payment guarantee.

    Also known as a bank checkteller’s check or an official check, these special payment instruments typically cost about $7 on average and are used to make large transactions, such as the sale of a house or car, safer for all parties. You may also receive a cashier’s check after closing a deposit account that still has money in it.

    Although cashier’s checks cannot bounce, they are nonetheless vulnerable to other dangers such as theft or fraud. And it’s not easy to deal with either problem.

    Below, we provide an overview of cashier’s checks, including: where and how to buy them, how to cash them, whether they’re safe and what to do if they’re lost, stolen or damaged. Read on to learn more.

    Where & How To Get A Cashier’s Check

    You can purchase a cashier’s check from most banks and credit unions. In most cases, however, you must do so in person and must have an account with the issuing bank. Some providers, especially large national banks, will cut the cashier’s checks to anyone for a fee, but you can expect to pay more if you don’t have an existing banking relationship with them.

    With these guidelines in mind, the actual process of buying a cashier’s check is simple:

    How To Get A Cashier’s Check:

    Step 1: Establish Parameters & Bring ID – When you request a cashier’s check, the teller will ask for the following:

    • Government-Issued ID (e.g., driver’s license or passport)
    • Payee’s Name (must be entered on the spot)
    • Check Amount (must be covered by cash or account balance)

    Step 2: Get An Autograph – Upon verifying your ability to pay for the amount in question, either the teller or a bank officer will sign the check.

    Step 3: Pay The Piper – You’ll need to pay the check’s full face value as well as any applicable fees up-front. The fee is between $3 and $10 or a percentage of the check amount. The table below lists which payment types are typically accepted.

    Payment Option Acceptable As Payment?
    Cash checkmark
    Bank Account Withdrawal checkmark
    Debit Card Maybe
    Credit Card* x
    Prepaid Card x
    Personal Check x

    *Requires obtaining cash advance, which is very costly on its own 

    Can I Buy & Send A Cashier’s Check Online?

    Only a few banks such as Wells Fargo (branch-based) and Ally Bank (online-only) allow customers to buy cashier’s checks online. But that just gets you mail delivery. You can neither send someone a cashier’s check electronically nor use it for spending online.

    That’s because ACH and wire transfers are considered the equivalents of an electronic cashier’s check in terms of security. As far as online shopping is concerned, your best bet is to simply use a credit card. All credit cards provide $0 liability guarantees that ensure you won’t have to pay for any fraudulent transactions.

    How To Cash A Cashier’s Check

    You have 90 to 120 days from the date a cashier’s check is issued to cash it. When doing so, you’ll need to present a government-issued ID (e.g., driver’s license or passport) and possibly a second form of identification such as a credit card or utility bill.

    Where To Cash A Cashier’s Check

    The issuing bank is the only financial institution required to honor a cashier’s check, but other places may still allow you to cash it. That said, here are your options:

    • If you have an account with the issuing bank: You should have no problem cashing the check.
    • If you do not have an account with the issuing bank: The bank may still cash your check but charge you a heftier fee than it does to customers. Otherwise, you can try another bank, but be forewarned that many banks do not extend this service to non-customers in order to protect themselves against cashier’s check fraud.
    • If no bank will accept your check: Your only alternative may be a check-cashing service, which charges comparable fees.

    When Can I Spend The Funds From A Cashier’s Check I Deposited?

    That depends on the check amount and deposit method. By law, the funds from a cashier’s check for $5,000 or less deposited in person at a bank branch will be available by the next business day. If your check is for a higher amount or was deposited using a different method (e.g., through an ATM), you can find the applicable rule on WalletHub’s Funds Availability guide.

    Are Cashier’s Checks Safe?

    Yes and no.

    Cashier’s checks are often considered safer payment options than cash and personal checks because payment against them is always guaranteed — as long as they’re genuine. Once you’ve paid the face value of the check and the associated fee, if any, the bank will assume full responsibility for covering the check upon cashing. You only have to worry about the check bouncing if the issuing bank goes under, which is highly unlikely.

    However, advanced printing technology has made it possible for fraudsters to forge cashier’s checks and even duplicate security features intended to guard them against illegal activity. As a result, a fake cashier’s check that you deposit can still clear. But you’re out the money plus the resulting bank charges if you spend the funds before your bank discovers the check is fraudulent, a process that can take weeks.

    Check out WalletHub’s guide on cashier’s check fraud to learn how to protect yourself or what to do if you’re a victim of a cashier’s check scam. The next section covers the steps you’d need to take in the event your cashier’s check is damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen.

    How To Deal With A Lost, Stolen Or Damaged Cashier’s Check

    The physical nature of cashier’s checks makes them susceptible to damage, loss and theft. Unfortunately, you cannot simply “cancel” or request a stop payment on a bank-guaranteed item. The check can still be replaced or reissued if the situation warrants it, but the process can be painful. In this situation, you have two options:

    1. File A Claim: After 90 days of the date a cashier’s check was issued, you can file what’s called a “declaration of loss” with the issuing bank. Under Section 3-312 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which lays out the rules for lost, stolen or destroyed cashier’s checks, the bank must issue a replacement check once they process the declaration. If they do not honor this rule, seek an attorney if the amount of the check is large enough to make legal action worthwhile.
    1. Get An Indemnity Bond: Section 3-312 of the UCC eliminated the need for this option. However, each state can modify the rule and stipulate further requirements in order to reissue a lost, stolen or destroyed cashier’s check. In this case, the issuing bank may require you to obtain an indemnity bond for the same amount of the check before it will issue a replacement. The indemnity bond is a type of insurance intended to protect the bank in case you lose the replacement check. This option may be worth pursuing if the cashier’s check is for a small amount or if you cannot afford to hire an attorney to help you recover the check.

    Don’t cash that check!

    woodforest

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It looks like a real check but has a better shot at quacking like a duck.

    Phony cashier’s checks are being mailed to consumers, purporting to be installments for more lucrative prizes from a contest the “winners” never entered.

    The dupe hinges on legitimate-looking bank drafts that convince unsuspecting recipients that they’ve hit pay dirt when in reality they’re being set up in a long-running scam that has cost consumers millions.

    Consumers are told in an accompanying letter – in one scheme, it’s from the equally legitimate-sounding North American Prize Remittance Board – that the funds are to cover taxes and “clearance fees” needed to acquire a much larger cash prize, which they are told is sponsored by a number of high- profile, recognizable companies.

    MORE INFORMATION

    • See an interactive graphic that shows some examples of check scams and offers tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.

    The consumer is typically instructed to deposit the check into his or her bank account and remit the same amount in a check to the sender.

    By the time the bank discovers the bogus check, the consumer’s check has cleared, the scammers have made off with their money and the consumer is on the hook for all the money.

    “There is no Prize Remittance Board,” said Colorado Assistant Attorney General Jan Zavislan, whose consumer-protection unit helps investigate the cases with the FBI. The phony cashier’s checks “look great because they have some official seal and are fancy. It’s all part of the scam.”

    The latest incarnation is a cashier’s check supposedly drawn on an account at Woodforest National Bank, a legitimate institution in Houston with branches in 11 states. It has been the target of counterfeiters since at least 2004.

    “It is unbelievable how far they go,” said Loretta Anderson, Woodforest’s vice president of fraud and risk management. “We simply won’t accept a cashier’s check, and our automated system rejects them.”

    The checks are not limited to Woodforest. The National Association of Home Builders recently alerted people on its website that its checks were copied and used in a similar scam.

    “I don’t think there’s a financial institution in America that hasn’t had their checks counterfeited,” Anderson said.

    Federal authorities warn consumers to be alert for the scam, which can recur under a different guise with the same result.

    “We see all kinds of variations of these schemes, and they are not new,” FBI spokeswoman Rene VonderHaar said.

    Consumers who deposit the fake check – even just to keep it – can be held liable for the amount by their bank. And if the consumer sends the scammers a check, they’re out that money, too.

    “A cashier’s check is not gold,” Zavislan said. “They are not guaranteed dollars. If you deposit it, you’re responsible for those funds.”

    Sometimes, the victim is arrested erroneously. That’s because a bank, noticing a fraudulent check has been deposited, suspects the depositor of fraud.

    The phone number listed on a letter sent with the phony Woodforest check is to Ontario, Canada, where the letter originated. It contained only a recording – in English and French – saying there was no more room for any messages.

    The U.S. Department of Justice, with Canadian authorities, has issued warnings about check scams, saying the number of schemes has increased by more than 500 percent in the last four years.

    Said Zavislan: “The big thing is not to accept at face value any check that a stranger sent you in the mail.”

    Staff writer David Migoya can be reached at 303-954-1506  or dmigoya@denverpost.com.

    1. FRAUD, PHISHING AND FINANCIAL MISDEEDS
      HAVING WORKED AROUND FINANCIAL CRIMES FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, I NOTICED THEY SEEMED TO BE ON THE RISE. ONE REASON FOR THIS IS TECHNOLOGY, WHICH GROWS MORE RAPIDLY THAN LAWS DESIGNED TO PROTECT US FROM IT. ALTHOUGH THE BLOG IS A RESOURCE TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ON IDENTITY THEFT, IT ALSO STRIVES TO EDUCATE THE COMMON PERSON ON THE RAPIDLY GROWING PROBLEM OF CRIMES ENABLED (MADE TOO EASY) BY TECHNOLOGY AND THE INTERNET.

      Secret Shoppers Scammed
      I’m sure we’ve all seen advertisements on how you can make a lot of money, get free merchandise and meals and even take cruises as a “Secret Shopper.” We’ve also seen numerous services (questionable) that will sell you information on how to do it.

      Although, there are numerous companies, who do this for legitimate businesses, very few people make much money by being a secret shopper. So far as the services selling you a package to do it, I would recommend that you stay away from them. Quite simply, they aren’t necessary and you are probably paying for something that you could have got for free. All one needs to do is look up the companies, (Secret Shopper) online and apply directly to the company.

      On a much scarier note, I read a report from the Minneapolis Star Tribune that “Secret Shopping” is the latest ploy to attract victims into Advance fee fraud (419 scams).

      Here is how this latest scam works as reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

      “John McCullough, business coordinator for the Financial Crimes Task Force, said the perpetrators ran an ad in the Star Tribune classified section last month luring readers with an offer to be “Secret Shoppers” for “$100/hr. guaranteed” and “no experience necessary.”

      People who responded to the ad were sent a letter congratulating them on being selected and instructing them to cash a $2,830 check at their bank or other institution, to keep $200 for themselves, and to send most of the rest to the Canadian address. The check-cashing task is described in the letter as an “assignment” to “evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of a payment system called ‘Moneygram’ which is available at all Wal-Mart (sic).”

      Moneygram and Western Union offer wire transfer services, which aren’t insured by the FDIC. In many advance fee scams, the ploy is to get someone else to cash a fraudulent instrument and wire the money (normally overseas) before the instrument is discovered as a fraud.

      “The letterhead is topped with the Web address (secretshopper.ca) of an apparently legitimate operation in Canada that employs people to shop and evaluate retail establishments. Other legitimate operations include secretshoppercompany.com in Gainesville, Ga., and secretshopper.com in Minneapolis.”

      As I am constantly saying, Advance Fee is a continuously mutating animal. The Secret Shopper twist is new and if history proves correct, we will see this version of the scam travel quickly in the borderless environment of the internet.

      Some good advice from the article is, “beware of checks made out for more than the selling price of an advertised item, checks delivered via overnight delivery service, checks drawn on an account in a name that is different from the person buying the item, and instructions to wire money to a large U.S. city or to another country such as Canada, England or Nigeria.

      Other things to watch for are payment of a “commission” for facilitating money transfers through personal accounts, and e-mails requesting the receiver to “confirm, update or provide” personal banking account information.”

      Note that people, who fall victims to these scams are normally held financially responsible. In some instances, some of them have even been arrested for attempting to pass fraudulent financial instruments.

      Should you suspect you are being solicited on any internet scam, the best thing to do is to report it to the authorities. There are numerous links throughout this blog and in my “links” on how to do so!
      POSTED BY ED DICKSON AT 1:03 PM
      LABELS: ADVANCE FEE (419), CYBER CRIME, INTERNET CRIME, SECRET SHOPPER SCAM
      37 COMMENTS:

      Anonymous said…
      just watched the people’s court where a guy lost 800.00. same scam-go to wal-mart and get a moneygram.
      he cashed check at a check cashing
      place that knew him and he had used
      them before. The check was found to
      be counterfeit and the guy was out the dough. he lost the case to the
      check cashing place because it was
      a fraud. it was secretshopper.ca.
      the “ca” should have been a red flag!

      9:05 PM
      Anonymous said…
      I was just scammed out of 7 thousand dollars… the bank said there was nothing they could do, that I am held liable. It was the same… secretshoppers.ca . A moneygram via Walmart

      3:34 PM
      prying1 said…
      Thanks for the heads up on this Ted. – I’ll try to spread the word.

      11:55 PM
      Anonymous said…
      What makes me mad about this is that I took a check to my bank and deposited it, they put a 5 day hold on the check. Then I got on this website and noticed that the check was a fraud, so I called the bank and told them to cancel depositing the check, the lady said that when I brought the check up there she knew it was a fraud because of another person that banks there was scammed, she said she did not tell me because she did not think she could. This tells me the bank wanted to make money off of more people.

      6:14 PM
      Anonymous said…
      My friends kid nealry fell victim, today. He answered an an online job offer from canada, to become a secret shopper.

      Not clear on the entire scam, the dad just asked me if i thought it sounded fishy and shared a few omgoing details.
      Apparently the “shopping” involved depositing a $3,400 check, and sending a large part back, he was to keep something like $250.
      Nice little profit… huh?
      Initially, it sounded like a way to cash checks, printed from an account, where the details had been duplicated from an ID theft. I thought the point was to insulate the ID theft scammer from cashing phoney checks at first, But if seems like it’s a prepay scam after reading details.

      Apparently the check is completley bogus and it will bounce, after some time has passed. It appears that the prepetrator has taken advantage of transaction reporting timings, so the kid still doesn’t know that the check is bad even after a few days.
      Glad he called me. Problem is, I let him use my calling card PIN to talk to Canada for cheap, since he thought it might be a long call to interview with some company. Paying for job interview calls was all I thought was happening last week… jeez!

      The kid did notice something wierd, that scam operator did talk to him a couple of times and gave hime a phone number which would connected to someone else.
      The person recieving the calls from the kid said, he suddenly started getting a lot of wrong numbers for the person (the scammer).

      12:37 AM
      Anonymous said…
      I narrowly escaped being a victim to this very same scam. My wife received a letter from Secret Shoppers who got her contact info from a job hunting website. They were supposed to send her written info only on home based businesses. Instead they sent a check for $3450 with this secret shopper assignment of going to moneygram at Walmart. Same scenario. Deposit the check in your bank. Within 48 hours, wire $3035 to a fake relative in Canada. Pay $115 for the wire fee, and keep $300 for ourselves. I even called the number listed on the front of the check to verify that the check was legit. That company is a fraud too! I initially deposited the money thru the ATM. The whole thing just didnt feel right, so I got online the next morning at work and discovered its a scam. I was thankfully able to retrieve the check before it was deposited!

      10:24 AM
      Anonymous said…
      Got a check today for $2795. I thought it seemed odd and did a little research. I called the bank and there was an answering machine. Called he 800 and someone answered at 10pm at night. They were going to payme $450 and I could shop at the gap and wal-mart and keep the merchandise. However, I was to wire the remaning $2100 that they would give me the wire info to once I called them back and let them know the check was cashed. Companys name is Shopping Group Inc and they state the head of Human Resouces is Susan Hutchins. Thank God my husband made me think it through.

      8:44 PM
      Broke at Christmas time! said…
      I recieved a secret shopper letter from Vancouver, BC. In this letter contained a cashiers check for 4770.00. It was for a secret shopper company called MysteryShop Inc. I sadly enough didn’t do my research. My two big jobs were to wire money Western Union and Money Gram. The guy I talked to went by the name Jason Wills. I was given instruction to wire this money to Canada. I had not heard anything of these scams. I did all the jobs I was supposed to do, to find out three days later that the check was counterfeit. My bank froze my account and even the money that I already had in there they took from me. Now I am flat broke with three people to support. Please don’t let this happen to you!

      10:39 PM
      Broke at Christmas time! said…
      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
      10:40 PM
      Marlon Crutchfield said…
      Well Merry Christmas!
      I too was scammed out of over $4000.00 from this Jason Wills. I’m more upset with myself I didn’t do enough research. If I had spent more time researching this wouldn’t have happened to us. We’ve got our son’s birthday on the 22nd then Christmas on Monday. We’ve got no money for either of these events. We’re also flat broke. DON’T let this happen to you. I hope Jason Wills or whatever this guy’s name is rots in hell. Hell was made for people like this. Merry Christmas

      8:13 AM
      Anonymous said…
      Me too. Jason Wills pulled the same sceme on me.

      8:35 AM
      armac said…
      2/4/2007

      I have seen 4 secret shopper’s checks in the last week. The scam is starting up again beware. All the letters inform you to shop at The Gap and Wal Mart and wire the remaining money to Canada……..BEWARE.

      The checks have an 800 or 888 number on them for contacting the bank, the scammers answer that telephone and conirm the check is good. Look up the number for any bank on the internet, do not call the numbers preprinted on the check. That is part of the scam.

      9:15 AM
      Ed Dickson said…
      If anyone has specifics – I’m always up to doing an updated post on them.

      Write me at EdwardDickson@sbcglobal.net

      8:16 PM
      Anonymous said…
      MEMPHIS ALMOST SCAMNED
      I applied for shoppers job because I knew someone who was a shopper and all of her jobs were ligit. This morning I received an overnight pk with a check for 980.00 and a letter. Excited I could not wait to read the detail of my assignment. As I read it aloud it seemed too good to be true, but my commission sound even better for nothing. But what got my attention was the part of the letter that said send it to MY RELATIVE whom had almost the same last name with a misspell. I read it to my mother and she(Lt. at Correctional Institute)knew it was a scam and told me to research it. I read through many sites but none over-rode my hunger for the 120.00 I was going to get for such a small task,if she was wrong. Then just as I was about to say there isn’t anything specific enough or I found nothing…I found your site. My question now is what do I do with the check? Should I destroy it and if I do will they continue to contact me? Who Should I hand it over to? Anyway, Thanks for saving my ASSESTS.

      7:59 AM
      Ed Dickson said…
      You can report these to the FTC, or the FBI. I have links to do so on the main page. Doubtful any individual attention will be paid to the case, but you never know.

      6:35 AM
      Anonymous said…
      Almost Duped in California!
      Thanks SO much for having this info available! I also sent for info to be a secret shopper and wasn’t too surprised when I get a letter from the Secret Shopper. The envelope didn’t say anything other then addressee and http://www.canadapost.ca stamp/postmark. The check inside was for $4,885.00. The letter asked me to call for more instructions and when I did, the lady couldn’t or wouldn’t answer my questions. It didn’t sound right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As soon as I mentioned that I had worked in law inforcement, she got real distracted til I finally hung up and found your web site. The money sounded real good! I feel for the people who get duped!
      I also was supposed to send the $ to a relative of mine in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. The contact person I was to contact was named Evelyn Richards Tel # 1-204-962-7979 . I too was to go to Wal-mart and send a money gram and eveluate them.
      I also get a sheet about Code of Business Conduct and Ethics – imagine that!!!

      10:56 PM
      KSHIPPYCHIC said…
      I just got one the other day. Did my research (thank god) and decided to put up a post with photos of everything they sent me and the check too. You can see it here:

      http://rebeccabridgesphotography.blogspot.com
      /2007/06/if-it-seems-to-good-to-be-true.html

      I am glad someone else has written about these very nasty scammers!

      8:55 AM
      wvirginiamama said…
      I can not believe whaty I am reading !! It is like all you out there had read the letter I got in the mail today !! The check was for 2850. I was to keep 300, and send the rest to a relative in Hamiliton Ontario Canada.Thank GOD I live in a SMALL town where everyone knows everyone.When I went to the bank the girls were telling me a lady brought the same thing in acouple days before and she was scammed! Why can’t something be done about this? Thank God I didn’t get mixed up with this! But what do I do with the check? Burn it?

      5:09 PM
      wvirginiamama said…
      By the wat, the guy I talked to said his name was Peter Joseph and the cashiers check had the name Linda Jenkins.The bank is Woodforest National Bank in The Woodlands Texas. Oh, the letter itself had the name Linda Flemmington.

      5:13 PM
      Ed Dickson said…
      I have a link to the Postal Inspectors on the side of the blog to report it. Otherwise burn it, shred it — just don’t cash it:)

      5:58 AM
      Anonymous said…
      I can’t remmember where I called to ask information about a job offer, regarding a clerical position , they told me that they would send a packed with the information needed. Well I recieved a letter congratulating me as a regional representative, the letter stated to call 1-778-319-0757  as soon as recieve the package to validate the check evrything sounded sweet, legit with their fancy CODE OF BUSINESS CONDUCT AND ETHICS. On behalf of Secret Shoppers Inc. well I did fall for the scam; I contacted the 778 number I spoke with a Peter joseph. he gave me a 1-866-495-3693  number to verify the funds thru woodforest national bank, some guy picked up gave him the ck# verify everything, ok. the cashier’s check had a different phone # 877-???, when I called it to verify the funds it din’t got thru…The letter stated that I had a probation period of 48 hrs. which they sent me a check for the amount of 2,850.00, 300.00 for my 2 hr. evaluation training, 2495.00 which the funds would be wire via money gram at any wal-mart. The money gram was going to be sent to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. HAVE FUN!HAVE FUN!HAVE FUN! Well I did I couln’t cash the check, so I had to deposit it to my account. Funds were available right away, but I decided to wait 2 days i told “Peter” it would take 2-5 days to clear. The check is on hold. I didn’t take any funds out from the bank. Then it started to look fishy, so I did my research, theres no trade name, no website, so I typed the name Linda Flemmington, which is in the letter they sent me. And the rest is in this blog. I hope this could help anyone. By the way other numbers, are 1-250-884-3576 ; 1-248-293-2892 ; 1-604-338-1597 ; 1-248-293-2898  340 50 Ave s e, Vancover, BC T2G2B1 340 50 ave s e Calgary, AB t2g2b1. The Check was written by; Linda Jenkins, Payee; Sarah Lavender.I WILL REPORT THIS TO THE AUTHORITY’S….

      2:04 AM
      Anonymous said…
      I feel so stupid, but damn, everything (Anonymous said…) is what happen to me. OMG! Peter joseph here is another phone numbers/ 1(250)884-3576  fax 1(248) 293-2898  1(604)338-1597  1(248)293-2898

      9:58 PM
      Jay said…
      NEW Scam Info: “SECRET SHOPPER” CHECK via US Mail

      Company: PC INC. Marketing
      Address: 68 West 21st Street NYC
      Phone: 705-770-2364  CANADA #
      Check: Amt $2,920.00 issued by STATE STREET Boston MA
      Scam Contact Name: Tiffany Weston HR Mgr
      Melissa Boyer: “Assignment Coordinator”

      Cover letter states the usual (Funds to shop; Funds for Svc Fee; Funds to keep; Funds to transfer via WESTERNUNION)
      Check looks very viable but thanks to sites like these, knew it was FRAUD. Watch out for this latest name of FRAUDULENT COMPANY. Wish everyone had the internet to research.
      * Called them just to see what was up and some “fast talking hard to hear” kid suddenly realized I was asking too many questions and he hung up on me. Reported to US POSTAL SVC MAIL FRAUD as it came this way with ONTARIO CANADA Postmark. THAT SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST CLUE!!

      So P.C. INC. MARKETING is a secret shopper/mystery shopper/Customer Service Evaluator FRAUD.

      So sorry to all those who fell for one of them. Don’t feel terrible…they really DO look like authentic checks!!!! You are not gullible or stupid, you are just a decent person who assumes that other people are as well. You have to BE a Creep to THINK like one … so cut yourself a big break.
      Jay in Saratoga Springs, NY

      p.s. They get your name from signing up for email solicitations for SECRET SHOPPERS, etc. so delete the SPAM!

      7:15 PM
      Anonymous said…
      LIVING IN A SMALL TOWN IN FLA WHERE A JOB IS HARD TO COME BY, I RESPONDED TO A ADD IN THE PAPER FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE. IT ASK YOU TO LEAVE YOUR INFO AND THEY WILL CONTACT YOU. WELL A FEW DAYS LATER I RECIEVED A LETTER IN THE MAIL WITH NO RETURN ADDRESS ON THE ENVELOPE. I OPENED IT AND IT WAS THE SAME THING ALL OF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. SOME YEARS BACK MY MOTHER HAD DONE SECRET SHOPPING AND WAS PAID WELL FOR IT SO I WAS HAPPY TO GET STARTED. WELL I CALLED THE NUMBER THAT WAS ON THE LETTER AND SPOKE TO A PETER JOSEPH. WHEN HE ANSWERED THE PHONE HE PROCEEDED TO TELL ME TO GO TO MY BANK IN THE MORNING AND CASH THE CHECK THEN CALL HIM BACK AND AT THAT TIME HE WOULD GIVE ME MORE INFO. I TRIED TO ASK MORE INFORMATION BUT HE SAID HE WOULD GIVE ME ALL OF THAT WHEN I PASS THE TRAINING. SO I TOLD MY MOM WHAT HAPPENED BUT AS I WAS SPEAKING TO HER I REALIZED ALL THEY HAD WAS MY NAME NO ID NO SS# NOTHING BUT A NAME AND A ADDRESS. BUT THEY WAS ABLE TO SEND ME A CHECK FOR 2850.00. WHAT DID NOT SIT RIGHT EVEN MORE IS HE ANSWERED THE PHONE MINS TO 11PM AT NIGHT. WELL A MONTH WENT BY AND I DID NOT CASH THE CHECK. THEN I LOST MY JOB SO NOW I AM LIKE THAT SECRET SHOPPER JOB WILL COME IN REAL HANDY. I CALLED THE SAME NUMBER AND THAT PETER GUY ANSWERS THE PHONE AGAIN. I TELL HIM I HAD NOT HAD THE TIME TO DO IT BUT HAVE AN OPEN SCHEDULE NOW AND IT’S LIKE HE JUST WENT RIGHT INTO SCRIPT SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING AS BEFORE. TELLING ME TO HOLD WHILE HE RELEASE THE CHECK. THIS TIME I TELL MY COUSIN IT DOES NOT FEEL RIGHT I GOOGLE THE NAME LINDA FLEMMINGTON AND THIS PAGE POPS UP. I AM SO HAPPY THAT THIS WAS HERE CAUSE TOMORROW I WOULD HAVE BEEN ANOTHER VICTIM. WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS? BEWARE OF THINGS LIKE THIS. PETER JOSEPH… LINDA FLEMMINGTON… LINDA JENKINS… I EVEN GOOGLED THE NUMBER ON THE CHECK AND FRUAD POPPED UP.866 495 3693 …. PETER JOSEPH NUMBER 514 581 7620 …. THE NUMBER ON THE LETTER WAS DISCONNECTED 250 884 3576 .. BE CAREFULL. ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY AND CANT AFFORD TO PAY THIS MONEY BACK.

      3:42 PM
      Anonymous said…
      BY THE WAY I RECIEVED THIS LETTER IN FEB OF 2008. I SEE THINGS GOING BAC TO NOV OF 2005 BY THE SAME PPL. SO THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS FOR AWHILE AND GET AWAY WITH IT. THAT SCARES ME.

      3:45 PM
      Anonymous said…
      i just received a letter today from US Mystery Shoppers in San Antonio, TX. same scam as mentioned about: despost the check and wire X amount. Thanks for the warning, glad I looked it up first.

      4:17 PM
      Anonymous said…
      I feel so sorry for those people who got scammed. But when you get the fake check, and get to know what they want you to do. Can’t you think about if there is any way they can make money from this way if this is true. Just pay you money to wire the money, why for? Too good to be true, can’t be true. Just belive that.

      7:41 AM
      Anonymous said…
      ok i was in receipt of this same chack but the guys name was Peter. I called the woodforest national bank and faxed the information to them and found out it was an invalid check. I AM GLAD I DID NOT MAKE A FOOL OUT OF MYSELF BEFORE I CHECKED IT OUT. IF YOU GET THIS INFO FAX IT TO THE BANK AND THEN GIVE IT TO THE POLICE!!!!!!!!!

      8:52 AM
      Anonymous said…
      I wasnt one of the lucky ones, i fell for one of thes dumb scams sounded good at the time. I didnt even bother looking it up first, i did it and then looked it up and found all this. i got a check of 2800 put it in my account and then had to do a money gram to someone in canada, i did it for 2100! so i thought o yeah i get to keep 650 but turns out i owe the bank 2800 !!!!! dont get tricked like me i feel so dumb now

      9:45 AM
      scammedinnc said…
      I am the latest victim of this scam, and I need justice. It was the same “Secret Shoppers” as what I’ve read here. Linda Jenkins, Linda Flemmington, etc… Except the man I spoke to was simply named “Ray”. I wish now that I had taken two minutes before I cashed and wired the money to check this company out instead of now, when it’s too late. As soon as I found out what this was (when I got a letter from my bank telling me I owed them $2875), I called the local authorities, who took my info but referred me to the secret service, who in return referred me to my bank who had initially referred me to the local authorities. So my question is, does anybody know of anything I can do so I can eliminate this debt? I have no money to begin with; after I’m done paying my bills each week I barely have enough money to get groceries and gas, and the bank is telling me that if I don’t pay them back, they will press criminal charges against ME, not the real criminals who just paid me $300 so that they could steal $2875.
      How is it that these people have been doing this for so long and haven’t gotten caught yet? I’m halfway tempted to sell everything I own to raise enough money to go to Canada and hunt these people down myself since apparently the government isn’t doing anything. Maybe even, all of us victims can band together and start something, because if the authorities had enough people giving them the same info, they might do something. The hard thing is finding out what group of authorities to contact. I will keep researching this because I am in no way able to pay back the debt and don’t want criminal charges for it either. I want justice!

      2:41 PM
      Anonymous said…
      Good thing i’m a skeptic when any type of checks come through the mail. My son just recieved a nice size check from secret shopper, I read the letter word for word then looked it up on the internet and found this website. Right now my daughter-in-law is taking the package to the police department. This is the second time the kids has been tried to be scammed! I’m glad there was this website to check it out.

      12:43 PM
      Anonymous said…
      I received 3 Money Gram Money Orders for $2,625.00 from a Walter Riley with Mystery Shoppers. He wanted me to wire $2,425.00 to a unknown party. Luckily I did my research and burned the bad checks before getting scammed!

      4:08 PM
      Anonymous said…
      Hello I was just almost scammed as well I was told to cash 3 money orders and keep a portion. I did cash them even sent the western union. I received a call from western union stating that they needed an ID# and address. The person to receive the money was Alex Payne I figured something was up and canceled the western union transaction and picked the money up. I have put the money in my account and I am waiting to here from my bank. I don’t know if the money orders are legit or not but I am holding onto the money until I hear further from the bank. Something didn’t seem right so I started typing in counterfeit money orders stumbled on this website and I am glad that I followed my gut. Something told me that it wasn’t the right thing to do. I received a phone call also. I was told to send the money to Lagos, Nigeria. The company that sent the money orders was Superior Aledo Venture in New Bedford, MA. If this happens to you please don’t cash the money orders. I did but canceled the western union payment so I almost was scammed.

      8:36 AM
      Anonymous said…
      received the info in the mail and started doing research for something that sounded too good to be true…

      Red Flag#1: 3 different address (Canada, El Segundo, CA and Missouri).

      Red Flag #2:Company address legit but the company that was there wasn’t the same as a “mystery shopper”

      Red Flag #3: Send Western Union money gram to London, England, UK but WHERE in London??? no specifics there…

      Red Flag #4: same verbage as I saw on other posts… “to evaluate the effectiveness and efficienty of a payment system”

      thank you to everyone who has their posts…

      this one I received was for a fake company called
      iSPACE Research Center. The letter head address was in Maryland Heights, Missouri but the address on the check was from El Segundo, CA and the postmark on the envelope was from Canada.

      Watch out! If I hadn’t done research, I could have easily fallen victim to this too! I’m shredding the check for $3380.00! and then educating my college age girls on this!

      3:06 PM
      Anonymous said…
      I’m glad I found this website! I just received a letter today from “CS&P Technologies Marketing” with a check in the amount of $3,990.00. The letter instructed me to evaluate the services at any Western Union location, wiring $3,500 to Larry Astrologio in Brooklyn NY. The letter also said I could keep $250 for myself as “probation training pay for the first week.” The remaining $240 was to be used for the Western Union service charge and for shopping at either KMart, Macy’s, WalMart or JC Penney. I am so glad I did not fall for this scam. It is very sad that those of us who are jobless are being preyed upon by scammers! Life is already difficult enough without being taken advantage of by criminals!

      2:09 PM
      Anonymous said…
      If you’ve got a story about anything else on this site, you’re a gullible idiot, plain and simple. How simple can one be to get caught up such nonsense? Grow a brain!

      6:10 PM
      Anonymous said…
      Thankfully, I read all this stuff. Thanks for the info. I posted an ad on craigslist, & a guy name ‘Bill John’ replied last night. He asked are you still looking for a job? I said yes, I am. He emailed me back & said well, right now we have openings as a ‘mystery shopper’. I looked it up, this is a result of it.
      I have a 2 month old daughter & I couldn’t imagine going to jail over something like this. I wouldn’t want to be separated from her either.
      This is sad. I feel bad for the fallen victims.
      4:22 AM

      • I received a counterfeit check in the mail. I begn to rejoice after I called who I now believe was a nigerian scam artist. I was told that the cashiers check was sent to me as a sweepstakes winning for shoping at Home Depot. I called my bank (ING Direct) told them about the check, and asked for instructions. I was told to send the cashiers check to deposit. I sent the check to the bank, and waited one full week for the check to clear. The amount of the check was much less than the balance of my two accounts. The so-called cleared funds sat in my account for nearly another week. I did not use any of this money. My account was frozen, this is when the nightmare started.
        I was told that I knowingly deposited a bad check. I told them that, this was a cashiers check from a known bank. I asked the bank rep. if the check was a fraud, why did you people make the funds available after a weeks time. You must have been fooled also. They froze my money in two accounts. Yet, they allowed for my direct deposity to be deposited into the frozen accounts, and would not give me access to my money for months.
        I filed a complaint with the BBB, Federal Reserve and consumer protection, all was a waste of time and energy.

      • weedoogy – I am SO SORRY to hear that this has happened to you. Once the bank found that the check was counterfeit they SHOULD have just removed the money from that check from your account and everything would have been just as it was the day before you deposited the check, since you did not spend any of the money.

        Please go here http://scamvictimsunited.com/Reporting_scams.htm
        and report the scam to all of the places listed.

        Have you since turned off your direct deposit? This is something that we also encourage people to do on our Resources/Reporting page. If you have not already done so, I would open a new bank account at a different bank and have your direct deposit sent to that account so that you have money to live off of until this issue is resolved.

        Even if things are resolved with the bank now, you might want to look for another bank. Before opening an account, ask them about their policy for cashier’s checks. I did that for the bank that we are with now. When I went in I asked “If I deposited a cashier’s check today, how long would I need to wait to make sure the money is good?” The employee started asking me questions and informed me that the average clearance time was 7 – 10 business days, but she also informed me how to put a hold on the check so that none of the money could be used until the issuing bank has said that the check is real. THIS is the information that bank employees SHOULD be telling people, so I smiled and said “Thank you. I would like to open an account with your bank.”

        _________________
        Shawn Mosch
        Co-Founder of http://ScamVictimsUnited.com
        There is strength in numbers!

        Share your story with the media and educate others about scams! Details here http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=6319
        Sign our petition http://www.change.org/actions/view/crea … s_programs
        Follow our blog http://scamvictimsunited.wordpress.com/
        Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
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        Buy us a coffee to say thanks ~ http://www.scamvictimsunited.com/donations.htm

        Top

      • I got one to and it was from Woodforest national Bank, I called to verify the check and the purchaser or serial number was not listed and it was from a job offer for a personal assistant job from Craigslist. I hate people playing with our lives especially when you are trying to work an find a job, but you can’t do that when scammers are all over the internet.


  • Our Wedding Book

    Posted on 
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    Permalink
    While this Book Was Being Made on our first Month anniversary we found people camping out down by the river where we swim. come to find out the Guy and Girl are on drugs and the Man just got out of Jail from being in for 5 years for breaking and entering homes in Huntington. The State police where at our house that night and then they went to check out the river camp site. The two where camping there for at least 3 weeks. We Watched the car speed up and down the street for the weeks there where there. The way we found the campsite is the car sped out from behind the rail road tracks and cars don’t go down there seeing there is no road there. while we where down by the river… Another Night to remember…