I got a really neat letter in the mail yesterday. Apparently, my name has been selected as a secret shopper based on a suvey I took that I don't recall taking! It's a pretty cherry gig. The company, Day Pitney LLP (a law frm), has decided to pay me for some part time work - $600! All I have to do is do some market research as a secret shopper, and as an added bonus, I get to keep what I purchase!
I have two projects, which are hands on self training designed to equip me with the knowledge necessary to carry ourt my assignment(s) as an experienced research personnel. Such a brilliant command of the English language, how could I refuse?
The first project is to evaluate Western Union as a way of rating their competency. I need to transfer funds to the Area Manager Emily Franz. Fortunately for me, the check they sent me includes the amount I am to transfer. Additionally, my second assignment is to withdraw the sum of $250.00 for shopping at a home improvement or retail store. The check also includes the funds for this, plus the money for the "send fees." The total of the check is $3980. I am to send $2990 to Emily Franz and spend $250. The rest I get to keep. I need to call my account Manager Andrew Young at a phone number that starts with the area code 289 for instructions.
Let's consider this for just a moment. First off, Day Pitney LLP is a law firm that, to the best of my knowledge does not possess a "career research" department with a "secret shopper" program. But that's not going to stop a lot of people from considering this legitimate.
Next, my account manager is "Andrew Young," whose telephone number is area code 289-892-3265. This is not an area code for New York. I actually looked up this number on whitepages.com and found it to be a cell phone in Ontario, nowhere near New York City. I suppose it's possible that a person would have an Ontario area code on a cell phone in New York, but why would they use that as a contact number for a business transaction?
Third is the telephone number for Day Pitney. The telephone number listed is 212-714-8399. From what I could tell when I looked up Day Pitney, their New York office number differs from this, as does their NJ office. Even stranger, the fax number listed is a 206 area code, which I remember from growing up in Washington State as a Seattle area code.
This does not even take into consideration the typos found in the letter sent to me, which I highly doubt any reputable law firm would send out - I know ours wouldn't.
Here's how this scam works. They give you this great concept - you deposit $4000 into your account and then you withdraw $3000 and take it to Western Union where you wire it to the scammers. In the meantime, the check gets returned (i.e. it "bounces") and you get notified that you do not have the funds in there. You have now lost your $3000. In addition, you've not received your $600 for the "work" that you've done. The scammers insist that you contact them after every step - this is to help ensure that you work quickly, as time is of the essence. Additionally, they are "showing you their trust" by sending you a check for far more than what you are expecting to be paid, thereby implying you need to be fastidious in what you do. It's not a particularly clever scam, and it's one that's been done over for years and years, but it still works, because people see this as easy money with an $850 payoff ($600 in cash plus $250 in products).
Beware if you get any acceptance letters from Day Pitney Career Research. It is a scam and not linked to the legitimate law offices that are Day Pitney. Andrew Young and Emily Franz are names you need to watch out for.
If anyone else comes across this or other similar scams, please comment - let others know of the situation.