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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 27619
Experience:  Lawyer.
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I responded to a shadow shopping web add. they asked me for

Customer Question

Hi. I responded to a shadow shopping web add. they asked me for my basic personal info which I shared. Then I was informed that I was accepted and that they would send me the funds for the assignment, which would involve assessing a bank and a store (which turns out to be Walmart). %They sent me a check for ... get this ... $2,970.10 Canadian on a Credential Asset Management Check from a bank in Vancouver, BC; near where I live. I live in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. They told me in the cover letter that $400.00 would be mine and that after depositing it at my bank and withdrawing the remainder that I would go to Walmart and shop for $100.00 (anything I buy I could keep for myself ... ergo 400 + 100 = 500 to me). Meanwhile doing an assessment on service by my bank and at Walmart, but to call a specific phone number for a Mr. Michael Benson who would give me additional specific instructions. I called him today and he sounded Indian or someone foreign and asked him for the instructions. He asked me if I was ready to complete the task today and I said no I'd like to do it tomorrow so he said call me back tomorrow before you're ready to complete the job and that he'd give me my instructions then. Q. My concern is the amount being offered which they say is $200/hour to me and if this is some kind of illegal scam/fraud of sorts? They list their return address as PO Box 110, Toronto, ON, M5H 3S5. His phone number is *****
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: British Columbia, Canada and Ontario.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Not yet.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: My name is*****(###) ###-####Uplands Drive, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 4S9, TEL:(###) ###-####= Landline and(###) ###-####= Cell
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 17 days ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Yes, it's a scam. That check is fraudulent. What happens is, you deposit it into your account. They send you to Western Union or to a bank to wire transfer them most of the money. Wire transfers cannot be reversed after the fact. You send the money, and then the check is returned by your bank. Suddenly, there's $2,970.10 less in your count than you expected. If you don't have that much extra money in your account, your legitimate items like mortgage or car payment could be returned. The scam artists are located overseas, usually in Ghana or Nigeria, so there's no way for you to get your money back. And if the bank thinks you were involved, they could even freeze or close your bank account. It's an insidious scam, because it has far-reaching consequences for the victim beyond just taking their money (which is bad enough).

There are some legitimate mystery shopping companies out there, but the shops tend to only reimburse the shopper for money spent, especially new shoppers, or pay a nominal amount of $5-$10. Any time someone asks you to deposit a check and then send them cash, it's a scam. The RMCP has even issued warnings about this scam, as has the US Federal Trade Commission:

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 16 days ago.

Do you have any other questions about this?