I received a letter from Mystery Shopping Inc., 105 Central Avenue, Suite 601, Maddock, NC 58348, on Monday, November 10, 2008. A cashier's check in the amount of $4, 964 was enclosed. The letter explained the details of secret shopper-type employment which I had heard of in the past but never pursued. The letter requested that I call the sender for more information about the program. Since the letter indicated that I would make $250 on a weekly basis, I was excited (but suspicious) about checking out the opportunity.
I called as instructed [protected]) and spoke with Sarah. She explained the process to me and I complied as follows:
1. Deposit the $4, 964 check into our checking account. If it takes longer than 24 hours to clear, I must call back because the cashier's check will only be good for 24 hours. I deposited the check on Tuesday, November 11 (Veterans Day) and told byTD Bank that the money would be available on Thursday. Bill called Sarah back with the information.
2. Once the check cleared on Thursday, November 13, I called Sarah again, as instructed. She told me to fulfill the assignment set forth in the letter as soon as possible, the same day would be best. Sarah said that the Western Union and MoneyGram parts of the assignment could be combined into one MoneyGram. She also said it would be easier because MoneyGram is located right inside Walmart and Walmart was part of the assignment anyway. The same day, I withdrew $4, 600 from TD Bank to fulfill the MoneyGram obligation of the assignment. I didn't want to use my debit card in case there was some way the money could be traced to it through the MoneyGram. As soon as the MoneyGram was accomplished, I called Sarah and left the item number as I was also instructed.
3. That same evening, I bought $50 worth of items from Walmart and $40 worth of items from the Gap as instructed in the letter.
4. The following morning, I completed the forms thate were enclossed with the letter; specifically, I filled out a form for each cashier I worked with the previous evening (the Gap, Walmart, and MoneyGram)) and described the type of service I had received from each.
5. After I c0mpleted the forms, I faxed them along with all receipts to the same phone number above.
6. By Saturday, November 15, the $4, 964 check in our TD Bank account was returned for insufficient funds. My account was overdrrawn by $3, 550 and I had nothing left. I had been scammed.
I was shocked. I thought the check had already cleared my account that previous Thursday. I called TD Bank right away. They told me that the check had not actually cleared on Thursday--that they made the money available to me as a courtesy. They put a block on my account, and I was instructed to go to the branch the following morning, Sunday, to see whay they could do.
The next morning I went to TD Bank as suggested. I sat with Christine who was very helpful but not very hopeful. She contacted the Loss Prevention department who I was told would call us Monday, November 17.
I called MoneyGram on November 19 who told me the money was picked up at Walmart in Scarborough (Toronto), Ontario, on Friday, November 14.