Wednesday, July 2, 2008

You may already be a wiener

Its hard to believe that folks still fall for these scams.

This woman didn't but others do and will.

Fake check could have cost woman thousands
By Georgia Fisher

Kathy James admits her heart jumped when she saw the letter. She’s familiar, of course, with the concept of junk mail — and she scours her bank account and other documents with a critical eye, James says, to protect against identity theft. But the “paid secret shopper” offer she received last week from Canada came with a check for nearly $4,000 — and with its detailed contact information and watermarked paper, James said, it didn’t seem cheesy.

“As one of the research personnel selected under this program,” the enclosed paperwork reads, “you will be a consumer service evaluator” at a string of national retail chains and hotels, to be visited during a paid “self-training” session, after which “you will be trained in financial transaction by sending a Western Union/Moneygram to our training agents ...”


James laughs now to talk about it — a quick call to the Texas Attorney General’s office set her straight — “but I just hope other people don’t fall for it. Honestly, my son and I were looking at it, like, ‘Wow — $4,000 dollars. We could spend that in a lot of cool places.’”The Comal County Sheriff’s Office regularly gets tips for similar scams, says CCSO Lt. Mark Reynolds, and while victim statistics are difficult to pinpoint, the Better Business Bureau considers mail fraud “a huge problem,” said executive director Dean Taylor.“They look so much like real checks,” Taylor said. “They even have some of the right bank-code numbers, and some will even be cashier’s checks.”

The one made out to Kathy James looks inarguably authentic, and if she’d taken the bait, she said, she’d be out several thousand dollars. For more information about scams, including names of specific fraudulent organizations, visit