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Is a survey study a scam?

mikenmike0001 200 March 1, 2013 at 12:38 PM in Question
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Hi,

I'm not sure, but the rule of thumb that people have told me is that if there's any request for someone you don't know to do a wire transfer of money, then you should be suspicious and it could be a scam.

So originally, I signed up to a study on CL that got full and got this e-mail

Quote :
$250 Paid Study

Dear Applicant,

The study you applied for is filled but there is a new study if you are interested.

PolarVisions Inc, is looking for individuals to participate in an upcoming survey in your area.The survey will take 15 minutes to complete and you will receive a $250 cash compensation for participating.

To apply reply with the following
Email -
Name -
Zipcode -

Contact Rodney at ( surveys@polarvisions.org ) for more details.

Sincerely,
Rodney Osborne
That was on 2/15.

Then I filled it out and got this e-mail the next day


Quote :
Hello,

PolarVisions Inc®, announces free new vacancy for a market research study. We use market research to measure the quality of service rendered or gather specific information about products and services that help organizations strengthen brand reputations, improve communication and enhance customer relationships.

We are currently conducting a survey on western union agent locations to help measure and improve effectiveness of the services offered to customers, this is as a result of complaints from some of western union repeat customers about the behavior and misconducts at most western union outlets.

You will be required to visit a western union agent location in your area and evaluate the services they render as a customer, at the end of the research you will give us feed back on your overall experience by filling out a simple questionnaire. Each survey takes about 1hr to complete and you will be paid $250 for every evaluation completed. This will not inconvenience your present occupation.

If you meet all the requirements and wish to be a highly paid worker in our fast-growing company, please write to us by email.

Carefully fill the form to participate:

Full Names:
Mailing Address: (No P.O Box deliveries)
City / State / Zip code:
Phone Number(s):
Employment Status:

As soon as we receive the above information you will be added to our database to confirm your participation in the survey and we will contact you with further details to proceed. All information provided will remain confidential, it will not be shared for any reason and will only be used for the purpose of this study .

Thank you,
Rodney Osborne
Market Research Analyst
PolarVisions Inc®

Then today, I got through USPS Express Mail an envelope that I signed for that contained a letter statement and a check for $2,750.

I sent them an e-mail letting them know that I got it and they replied back saying:

Quote :
Here are your instructions for the WesternUnion survey.

STEP 1: Have the payment received cashed and deduct your $250 compensation for the survey.

STEP 2: Take the leftover cash to any WesternUnion location of your choice and pose as a customer making a wire transfer to an associate.

STEP 3: Deduct another $170 for charges for using WesternUnion services and request a wire transfer of the leftover funds to the below information.

Receivers Information:
Frank Konan
6502 Woodcrest Rd
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Be sure to observe how long it took you to get services, intelligence of the attendant and customer service professionalism during the transfer process. Under no circumstances should the WesternUnion agents know this evaluation is being carried out on them. Email me as soon as you make the transfer with the following information.

10 Digits MTCN #
Transaction Charges
Confirm Amount Sent
WesternUnion outlet surveyed

A questionnaire regarding your experience with WesternUnion will be emailed to you after completion of the survey.

Look forward to your response today.

Regards,
Rodney Osborne
Market Research Analyst

I've never done any wire transferring or used WesternUnion before, and I don't know who this Frank Konan is, but I'm wondering if all of this appears legit or not.

I figured, I have made copies of the check, the letter, the envelope, and everything and I have not done Step 1 yet, but if it is a scam, then I have all the information needed to make sure that I don't run into trouble for myself. Plus, I figured that if the check is scanned at the bank and it's invalid, they'll let me know right away.

Did anyone else get this survey invite and do this already?

28 Comments

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#16
Know this: Absolutely anything that involves Western Union is a scam. No doubt about it. Legitimate market research studies will NEVER ask you to do anything like this. I get these scam emails all the time, and it goes straight to my spam folder. These animals who lives only to scam people are lower than the stuff that comes out of a certain orifice when I delicate.
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#17
Simple Rules to follow if your not sure whether a Survey Company is legit or not

1.When it doubt Simply Ask (Meaning a Simple post just as you did now, asking if anybody ever heard of such company would have gave you a proper responses from people who had prior experience with this company and alerted you of this Scam.)

2. If your unfamiliar with a Survey Site or Want to verify they are indeed a Reputable Survey site you can always check Here [surveypolice.com] for Reviews.

3. If it Sounds to good to be True, it Probably isn't

***No legit Survey Company will ever ask you to Summit Money.
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L7: Teacher
200 Reputation
Original Poster
#18
Quote from Vig2000 View Post :
Know this: Absolutely anything that involves Western Union is a scam. No doubt about it. Legitimate market research studies will NEVER ask you to do anything like this. I get these scam emails all the time, and it goes straight to my spam folder. These animals who lives only to scam people are lower than the stuff that comes out of a certain orifice when I delicate.
Quote from victor4461 View Post :
Simple Rules to follow if your not sure whether a Survey Company is legit or not

1.When it doubt Simply Ask (Meaning a Simple post just as you did now, asking if anybody ever heard of such company would have gave you a proper responses from people who had prior experience with this company and alerted you of this Scam.)

2. If your unfamiliar with a Survey Site or Want to verify they are indeed a Reputable Survey site you can always check Here [surveypolice.com] for Reviews.

3. If it Sounds to good to be True, it Probably isn't

***No legit Survey Company will ever ask you to Summit Money.

Thanks.

I can't believe I almost fell for this. I was suspicious when the e-mail mentioned I would receive a package and then out comes a $2,750 check, which was why I thought about it for a while then posted on SD for fellow SDers to let me know if they've gotten the same thing or gone through this before. I was also suspicious that the company had no website. I looked up PolarVisions and found nothing.

But then again, I googled Rodney's name and Frank's name and nothing came up in regards to fake name scams.

I thought to myself if this was trouble, that those people went out of the way to pay for express mail with a tracking number that could trace to where it came from and also, the discussions in e-mail looked valid since they actually responded back a few times.

I just thought that this money was being transferred a different way than other survey companies, whom usually pay you after the survey ends and in this case, they were appearing to want to pay me at the same time I was doing the survey.

I'm surprised that if I go to the local bank and try to cash this out, they wouldn't be able to detect a fake check right away and it would bounce back in a couple of weeks like what some SDers posted.
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#19
Quote from mikenmike0001 View Post :
Thanks.

I can't believe I almost fell for this. I was suspicious when the e-mail mentioned I would receive a package and then out comes a $2,750 check, which was why I thought about it for a while then posted on SD for fellow SDers to let me know if they've gotten the same thing or gone through this before. I was also suspicious that the company had no website. I looked up PolarVisions and found nothing.

But then again, I googled Rodney's name and Frank's name and nothing came up in regards to fake name scams.

I thought to myself if this was trouble, that those people went out of the way to pay for express mail with a tracking number that could trace to where it came from and also, the discussions in e-mail looked valid since they actually responded back a few times.

I just thought that this money was being transferred a different way than other survey companies, whom usually pay you after the survey ends and in this case, they were appearing to want to pay me at the same time I was doing the survey.

I'm surprised that if I go to the local bank and try to cash this out, they wouldn't be able to detect a fake check right away and it would bounce back in a couple of weeks like what some SDers posted.
It actually isn't a big surprise as these scam artists can in fact open a "dummy" bank account and send out an actual check but obviously there would be insufficient funds to cover the amount which in turn would be your problem if you tried to cash it like another person mentioned. Consider this a valuable lesson for going forward do not respond to any type of survey or offers without checking with someone here on SD or verifying elsewhere if there were any other complaints about such offers.

Also, do not, I repeat ever supply any personal info via email such as SS#, account numbers, etc.
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L7: Teacher
200 Reputation
Original Poster
#20
Quote from iced-coffee View Post :
It actually isn't a big surprise as these scam artists can in fact open a "dummy" bank account and send out an actual check but obviously there would be insufficient funds to cover the amount which in turn would be your problem if you tried to cash it like another person mentioned. Consider this a valuable lesson for going forward do not respond to any type of survey or offers without checking with someone here on SD or verifying elsewhere if there were any other complaints about such offers.

Also, do not, I repeat ever supply any personal info via email such as SS#, account numbers, etc.
Thanks.

Do you think these people can do anything to me if I passed them my name, address, and phone number during the early stages of this process? This was how they mailed me the check. I'm wondering if they can do anything with that information that can be harmful.

Police told me to call credit unions. I have had a hard time connecting to a rep on the phone to issue an alert.
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#21
Quote from mikenmike0001 View Post :
Thanks.

Do you think these people can do anything to me if I passed them my name, address, and phone number during the early stages of this process? This was how they mailed me the check. I'm wondering if they can do anything with that information that can be harmful.

Police told me to call credit unions. I have had a hard time connecting to a rep on the phone to issue an alert.
You definitely want to flag the credit bureaus so they are on alert. Also, do keep track of your email account and be careful especially if you start to receive any type of emails that might look official but if they ask for any personal information or passwords, etc never respond back. I am going to send you a PM.
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#22
$2750? Sign me up.

On a side note, Western Union does use mystery shopping companies. The pay is low and most are for the Spanish speakers. But there are legitimate mystery shops for Western Union. For reference, it's extremely rare to get a mystery shop that pays out this much without a lot of works aka days of work to fill out reports and you will have shell out a good amount of money of your own.

Sadly a few, desperate people will fall for this and they will be in a world of hurt. Which is why these scams are still being done.
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#23
Quote from hongsc View Post :
$2750? Sign me up.

On a side note, Western Union does use mystery shopping companies. The pay is low and most are for the Spanish speakers. But there are legitimate mystery shops for Western Union. For reference, it's extremely rare to get a mystery shop that pays out this much without a lot of works aka days of work to fill out reports and you will have shell out a good amount of money of your own.

Sadly a few, desperate people will fall for this and they will be in a world of hurt. Which is why these scams are still being done.
It seems alot of these scam artists frequently post on Craigs list which sadly people are so desperate nowadays to seek employment that anyone can be an easy target.
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#24
Quote from hongsc View Post :
$2750? Sign me up.

On a side note, Western Union does use mystery shopping companies.
They 100% do not, just ask them. I have. Sadly, it is misinformation like this that leads people to think that maybe their "mystery shopping" offer is legit.
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#25
Quote from thehip View Post :
They 100% do not, just ask them. I have. Sadly, it is misinformation like this that leads people to think that maybe their "mystery shopping" offer is legit.
Hope you're joking. I've been mystery shopping for over 10 years. And can say with 100% certainty that Western Union does mystery shopping. Again the pay is low ($10 shopper fee or so) and they wanted Spanish speaking shoppers. Again I have no idea if you're joking or not.
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#26
Eugh, you guys don't know how happy I am to have googled the email address and found this. I responded to the ad about a month ago and then this package turns up and I was like wtf is this!? SO SKETCHY! I just emailed the person back and offered to send the cheque back, you don't think they would track any of us back to our addresses do you?
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#27
So glad you posted on here and avoided a terribly costly mistake. I had a friend who actually got much farther in the process; he actually sent the western union and when he told me what he had done, we actually called western union and had them stop the transaction. Thank God. Then the scammers had the nerve to call him the next day and ask him where his payment was...

I so wish the Grand Forks PD could help you set up a sting to snag these jerks.

Also, I'm not sure how just having your name, address, phone number and email account would open you up to identity theft. I would still think they'd need a social security number. Plus, their game isn't really identity theft; it's quick and dirty cash pick up.

One last thing (and this is really for some of the respondents, not the OP): when a person comes to this forum for help, it is really in bad form to denigrate him or her with 'I can't believe you didn't know that! What an idiot!' rhetoric. There are other less condescending, civilized ways to communicate your point...
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#28
Quote from needsmorecoffee View Post :
So glad you posted on here and avoided a terribly costly mistake. I had a friend who actually got much farther in the process; he actually sent the western union and when he told me what he had done, we actually called western union and had them stop the transaction. Thank God. Then the scammers had the nerve to call him the next day and ask him where his payment was...

I so wish the Grand Forks PD could help you set up a sting to snag these jerks.

Also, I'm not sure how just having your name, address, phone number and email account would open you up to identity theft. I would still think they'd need a social security number. Plus, their game isn't really identity theft; it's quick and dirty cash pick up.

One last thing (and this is really for some of the respondents, not the OP): when a person comes to this forum for help, it is really in bad form to denigrate him or her with 'I can't believe you didn't know that! What an idiot!' rhetoric. There are other less condescending, civilized ways to communicate your point...
Just so you are aware, you don't have to provide a SS# to still be a target of identity theft. I had read an article where scam artists who get a hold of someone's contact information can file a change of address form with the post office and this can easily be done online and have the victim's mail be forwarded to the new address. This can certainly include any business related mail such as preapprovals for applying for a new credit card which I read was the case of someone getting a hold of the victim's identity in this way unbeknowest to the victim until they tried to apply for a mortgage only to find out later that they were the victim of identity theft.

I think contacting the credit bureaus and flagging your accounts would be a proactive way to be on the safe side.
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#29
Around for years no company would ask you to cash a check. I 5 of these checks and throw them out.
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