Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Location: Central Florida

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Secret Shopper Fraud: A new twist on an old scam

I recently received the following e-mail from the Economic Crimes Unit of the Seminole County (FL) Sheriff’s Office:

The Altamonte Springs (FL) Police Department received a complaint from a resident who received a letter and counterfeit check in the mail from a company called “Paid Surveys” out of Baltimore, MD. The letter advised he had been selected to be a secret shopper and gave him a list of tasks with places to go to shop. They were warned to keep the shopping confidential. The check was to be used to make specific purchases at the locations which included a Western Union and Money Gram office. The letter advised that when he went to Western Union and Money gram he was “To pose as a potential customer sending a payment to Carol Hernandez, a relative of yours in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada”. It asked that all receipts and a customer service evaluation tool be sent back to them to verify they spent the funds properly. Of course some of the money, $881.00 was to be kept by the secret shopper as their fee. It even had an “honest and ethical conduct” section to be filled out and returned.

If you receive solicitations similar to this, contact your local law enforcement agency.



Monday, December 11, 2006

Social Security e-mail scam alert

Social Security has issued a warning about a new email scam message that is being circulated with the subject "Cost-of-Living for 2007 update." The message redirects the reader to a website designed to look like Social Security's Internet website. Once directed to the phony website, the individual is asked register by giving personal information such as the individual's Social Security number, bank account information and credit card information.

No government agency will ever initiate a request for personal information by e-mail. They won't ask for bank or credit card information, either. Social Security will communicate with you via regular U.S. mail.

To report receipt of this email message or other suspicious activity to Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG), call the OIG Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. A Public Fraud Reporting form is also available online at OIG's website http://www.socialsecurity.gov/oig