BBB serving New Jersey warns consumers that a “Consumer Research” company with a return address of PO Box 4440 in Trenton is luring customers with a direct mail piece offering to become a mystery shopper.
The company has solicited customers under various names: CBC Consumer Research, Global Monitoring and Research Services, HR Market and Consumer Research, HSBC Consumer Research Inc., Maxim Research Group, MLM Consumer Research Inc., National Marketing Group, Premier Consumer Research, Inc., and Valleyfield Survey Services. All use the same PO Box in Trenton, NJ.
According to BBB complaints, consumers receive a check for about $3,600 and are invited to become a “customer service evaluator” or “consumer survey specialist.” After cashing the check, recipients are instructed to spend about $150 at a retail store, and then wire approximately $3,000 to the firm. Consumers are told to keep the balance of the money as their salary.
BBB warns to use extreme caution if a company provides a check to cover the costs of any administration fees, taxes, etc. and asks you to cash the check and wire the money to their representative.
While the bank may find initially that the check appears legitimate, BBB experience shows that weeks later, after the funds have been transferred to the consumer, the check is found to be fraudulent or written on a stolen account and the consumer is left owing the money back to the bank.
Between April 1 and April 30, 2008, BBB serving New Jersey received nearly 350 requests for information on the firm and processed four (4) complaints to the company. Mail sent by BBB to the PO Box was returned by the post office. Phone numbers supplied for the business originate in Ontario, Canada.
If you have been contacted by what seems like a fraudulent secret shopper company, please contact the BBB. If you have sent a money transfer to Canada, contact PhoneBusters in Canada at (888) 495-8501.