DON'T Cash That Check!

The checks look so legit, people cash them. That's when trouble starts.

How's this for a dream job? 

Some people are getting checks from what appear to be legitimate companies to shop for a living.
But, there's one problem -- it's all part of what could be a million dollar fraud.
Sometimes scammers and thieves know that you're onto them.
And, because of that, some of those low-lifes are using real companies to try to get you to fall for their schemes.
Imagine going on a shopping spree, spending hundreds of dollars and best yet, someone else is paying for you to do it.
Get this. Thousands of checks from companies are winding up in mailboxes looking for folks to spend their business’s dinero.
Galaxy Electronics is one of those companies. The company was forced to stop using its real checks after someone mailed out hundreds of counterfeit checks for big bucks to homes all across the country.

“If we would have totaled up the amount of checks that actually hit our bank and people called us, it would have been close to a quarter million dollars,” said Jay Dorfman of Galaxy Electronics.

Galaxy Electronics collected over 50 fake checks. Each was sent with official looking letters for a real company in Pennsylvania.

But the phone numbers and post marks on the letters were  from Canada.

The letters asked people to deposit the money, wire some of it to New York, and go shopping with the rest.

One woman even sent the NBC 10 Investigators an e-mail from a Hubert Duke saying she'd get $500 bucks to be a mystery shopper at Wal-Mart. She could even keep the $100 dollar electronic item that she buys," NBC 10 investigative reporter, Harry Hairston reported.

"What they’re looking for you to do is to cash this check and before your bank will have the opportunity to ascertain if its real or not… they'll ask you to wire transfer the money,” said postal inspector, Amanda McMurrey.

By doing that, you actually send them your own cash.

Wal-Mart and other stores say they don't know anything about this company and warn people they should call the police.

The NBC 10 investigators laid a trap for Hubert Duke.

They told him they were interested in the job but wanted him to send them his picture. He replied by sending pictures, which NBC 10 later learned were from a social networking site.

“Unfortunately, the postal inspection service sees a lot of these types of offers,”  McMurrey said.

If you thought 50 fake Galaxy checks were a lot. Think again.

Over the last year the postal service seized more than 230,000 counterfeit checks from suspicious Canadian mail just at one airport.

“Our reputation has been soiled we have to close our account at the bank,” said Dorfman.

The postal service says be suspicious of any check you did not expect and any deal that calls for wiring money.

“Times are tough and people are thinking that it is real money,” dorfman added.
During this Investigation, NBC 10 also discovered the scammers are working out of Hong Kong.

The investigators contacted the dirty-doers through their e-mail address and told them that NBC 10 is on to them – the thieves never responded.

Story Links:

Federal Trade Commission
Mystery Shopper Providers Association

Secret Shopping Scam
FAQ's on Mystery Shopping

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