Scam Alert: Protect Yourself
Mystery Shopping Scams
Market Force Information, Inc. (“MFI”) routinely and legitimately utilizes mystery shoppers in its standard course of business. However, we are continually (daily) notified of situations wherein Market Force's trade name(s) and/or trademark(s) is/are used without Market Force's authorization to entice unsuspecting individuals into a deceptive mystery shopping scheme. Market Force takes seriously the fraudulent use of our name in this fashion and reports each such occurrence to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and continues to work with the local authorities (case #10-1680).
Never pay to become a mystery shopper! This includes never accepting a cashier’s check in exchange for you wiring or sending money to a person or company. Again, it never costs money to get assignments or to become a shopper.
If you are given a check to deposit in advance of doing a shop it may not clear and the financial institution will hold you responsible for the total amount.
Recent scams have included the following and may act as a red flag:
- Involves Check Cashing or Money Transfers
- Representative does not give a legitimate Market Force email address, example: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Includes a “Customer Service Evaluation Form” or a “Customer Service Evaluation Tool” (CSET)
- Offers extremely high payment for relatively easy assignment
- Does not require enrollment as a mystery shopper with Market Force
The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) has developed the following tips for those interested in becoming a mystery shopper:
- Prospective shoppers should never have to pay a fee to become a mystery shopper. Shoppers should be extremely wary of any mystery shopping offer that requests a fee.
- Visit the MSPA website (www.mysteryshop.org/shopper) for a list of reputable mystery shopping companies and opportunities.
If you are contacted by a fraudulent mystery shop company, we suggest you contact one or all of the following: (i) your local police department - ask for the cyber crimes department or an investigator; (ii) the FBI - go to http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx; (iii) the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm, call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, D.C. 20580; and/or (iv) the e-mail provider - such as AOL, Google, Yahoo, MSN - and go to the “contact us” page to file a complaint. Remember to provide accurate information about the person or persons perpetrating the fraud so that the authorities can assist you in stopping this activity (v) So that we can continue to report each occurrence as well, please notify email@example.com with as much information as you have. Attaching scanned images of any checks or letters you receive is very helpful.