Don't try to scam me!
Now this is interesting timing. Earlier today I wrote about hoaxes, and then in the mail (USPS) I get a letter that is an attempt to commit fraud. Before I get into the details, let me say that Mystique Shopper and Wal-Mart are legitimate companies, and that the people sending out these letters are in no way affiliated with either.
You know the saying, "If it is too good to be true ...". When my wife asked me to look at it, I told her that mystery shopping is a real industry but we should check it out. It just seemed too easy; besides, I didn't like the fact that there was no return address on the envelope. The first thing I did was a little research that confirmed Mystique Shopper is real, but I have seen real companies before that I wouldn't want to be associated with. So, look a little more, and I found a post out at KWTX (http://www.kwtx.com/iwitness/headlines/17805624.html) that sounded a lot like what I received. The clincher for me was the stamp and postmark, as I said, there was no return address. The stamp was Canadian and so was the post mark, but the letter head said California and the post at KWTX had them in New York. But it could still be legit and maybe this poster was just disgruntled. Look a little more to get this: http://financialcommand.com/scam-alert-check-fraud. Yep it is a scam.
What to do now? Since I was questioning Mystique Shopper, I at first avoided their web site since I was looking for impartial information. However, now I wanted to contact the real people, and I found at http://www.mystiqueshopper.com/shopper.html a warning about this scam. I sent an email to them asking for guidance and what to do. I received a reply within a few short minutes, “I have tried everything. The Federal Trade Commission FTC is the best ones to send it to. They DO know about it but I feel victimized as well as no one seems to take it too seriously. If there is a Wal Mart by you, I would show it to them if there is a Wal Mart check in it. They should be concerned as well since it is their name too.” When I sent my email to MS, I did not say anything about Wal-Mart, I guess this person is very up-to-date on what is happening.
Next, I had to head into town for other business and while I was out I stopped by the USPS. One of the two workers on duty was aware of this, but their supervisor wasn’t. Either way, they gave me the contact information for the USPS Postal Inspector online. I filled out the form.
Wal-Mart was next. It took a while to find the contact number for the corporate office, but I finally got it and was given priority treatment to a contact who was aware of the scam and took a report of the issue. She also encouraged me to contact the FTC, and provided a number to call. I haven’t called yet, but I have filed a complaint with the State Attorney General.
Is this a lot of work given that I didn’t fall for it and am not out any money? Not too much, besides, I live by the adage “All it takes for Evil to win is for good men to do nothing.” I don’t have to be a victim to fight for what is right.