A couple of weeks ago I got an e mail from some company who wanted to if I would be interested in becoming their Secret Shopper. All I had to do was shop at various retail establishments and for evaluating their performances they would pay me a couple of hundred dollars and I get to keep keep all the stuff I bought.
Hell of a way to kick start Christmas shopping I figured so … Hell Yeah! Then I forgot about the whole thing until they contacted me again seeking an address so they could send me a check and a cell number so they could text me. Imagine my surprise when the very next day a check for $2500.00 showed up special delivery followed by a text telling me to contact them as soon as I had deposited the check. I immediately went to my bank and deposited it using the ATM machine because it always clears faster (mistake #1) and let them know by e mail that I had done so and they responded by telling me to check my computer for step by step instructions.
While driving home from the bank those small warning bells started going off in my head, hey who in their right mind sends $2500 to someone they don’t know but when I opened up the e mail their instructions were quite detailed and seemed very official looking. The first thing they wanted me to do with the money was to immediately pay myself $200.00 then use another $50.00 to shop at the closest Wal-Mart as soon as possible then my next assignment started my alarms going off again because they wanted me to send two MoneyGrams for a thousand dollars apiece to 2 two other mystery shoppers in other cities city and observe and note what kind of service I received. Once these tasks were completed they wanted me to compose a short written report on how I was treated at Wal-Mart and MoneyGram. All this was so weird but as long as the check cleared what did I care and of course immediately got greedy and asked how many of these assignments I could expect before Christmas. They told me it all depended on how quickly I completed my first two assignments and the bells in my head started to ring louder and I wasn’t even sure why.
I forwarded a copy of their instructions to Ric Hindes the CFO of James Crystal Radio and asked him his advice and he said it sure smelled like a scam to him but he couldn’t figure out what it was either so I headed back to my bank for a sit down with my bank manager. She claimed this had all the signs of a scam and she was 85% sure it was and had I deposited the check inside they could have called the bank it was written on to see if there were sufficient funds to cover it although even then a lot of banks are reluctant to say. She explained to me that by law they couldn’t hold the check for more than 24 hours so the funds would be available to me by 5:00 PM the next day but she advised me not to use any of the money because it would take at least a week to know if the check was any good and if it bounced I would owe them any of the funds I had used.
CLANG ClANG! Ahhh there it is, that’s why the pressure from the so called company to complete the assignment quickly is beginning to heat up. By the time the check bounced there wouldn’t be a trace of them anywhere got it! The pressure texts really start to come in now (105) and they were getting really nasty telling me that they needed me to complete my assignments right away and stop fooling around. Somehow the Wal-Mart assignment had been forgotten about and now they just wanted me to complete the MoneyGram part of the assignment because according to them the mystery shoppers in other cities are standing around doing nothing but waiting on me. I stall them by saying I’m at the office and wont be able to get to the bank in time to withdraw the money tonight because there is a limit to how much I can withdraw from a ATM machine each day.
Even though it looks sadly like my Christmas shopping on somebody else’s nickel was not to be I thought I might as well enjoy this all by seeing if I could scam the scammers so the next thing I do is go on the Rich Stevens show on WFTL in Ft. Lauderdale and tell him my story. It was a very fun show with a ton of folks calling in to tell us about their own scam stories and the thing that pissed me off the most was they all got bigger checks than me, so not only was I being scammed but I was being ripped off too. Bummer! During Rich’s show we decided to try and scam the scammers who were still texting me as I was doing the show by telling them that I had another guy who was also interested in becoming involved in the project.(Rich Stevens) We were hoping we could get some more checks from them that we could pass along to the FBI. The scammer turned me down immediately saying my mission was to complete my assignments not recruitment. Damn!
The next morning here comes the pressure texts again saying I need to have my assignments completed before 5 o’clock today and I couldn’t help but think as hard as these guys were working on scamming me for two grand how much money do you suppose they could they make in the legitimate world. I tell them I am on the way to the Bank and will text them as soon as I withdraw the money but after a half hour I tell them that the Bank claims something is wrong with the check and they need them to reissue me another one. They claim that they of course have no idea what I’m talking about but they definitely wouldn’t be issuing me another check so I give them a little hope by telling them that the bank wanted me to come back later this afternoon. They then asked me if it looked like the bank was going to give me the money and I just repeat that the bank told me something is wrong with the check so they cant let me withdraw the money yet. After that exchange the texts start to slow down and I can only guess they are kinda on to me as I am on to them. Damn and I can still see that money lying there in my account and it looks so tempting but what I do instead is share this Blog with my two scammers, Wander Thorman and Kevin Pool plus send them a farewell text that reads … You Can’t Scam A Scammer MoFo!
This just in … Surprise surprise after 5 days the check bounced which cost me 12 bucks but was well worth the the admission price not to mention over 6000 people have already read this Blog and we got a radio show out of it. Now Wander and Kevin are famous but when I later texted them the bad news that the check bounced they never responded and this morning the bank sent me a copy of the bounced check which they refer to as being a counterfeit check.