If you get a check in the mail offering to pay you to become a South Florida mystery shopper, beware.
My colleague Doreen Hemlock shared this:
Boynton Beach resident Bonnie Eisenberg said she got a letter in the mail from a “Riverside Research Group” addressed to her husband, Alex Eisenberg. The letter included a check for $1,190 with the bank PNC listed as issuer. The letter said the group was contacting her husband, because he’d completed an online survey to make money on a job. It said the check was for him to train and become a mystery shopper and market researcher. The letter asked him to call a Chris Howard at 905-598-4503, so that he could get a security code cleared and cash the check.
Bonnie Eisenberg thought the letter was strange, because her husband passed away four years ago.
A couple of days later, Eisenberg said she got an e-mail supposedly from PNC bank asking her to click to disclose and update bank information on her PNC account.
But she doesn’t have a PNC account, so she decided to call the Sun Sentinel to check into the matter.
Eisenberg made a photo-copy of the check to show us and found it printed out with a “Void” notice on it that had not been visible before.
We called the 905-number, and someone identifying himself as Chris answered. When we sought information, he said “The system is down, call back later. “
PNC spokesman Fred Solomon warned that these types of letters and e-mails are a common type of fraud. The bank is not involved. The communications may be part of “phishing” efforts, in which fraudsters seek sensitive data by posing as a trustworthy entity.
If individuals receive letters or emails that they suspect may be fraud and include PNC’s name, they can: 1)forward the e-mail or other information to email@example.com, or 2) call the bank at 800-762-2035, Solomon said.
Complaints also can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or ftc.gov.
“The important thing to remember is this, “ said bank spokesman Solomon, “If it seems too good to be true, it is.”