The Scammers Are Afoot
We should always be aware of scammers. In slow economies they are usually on the rise. As an accountant I have seen how some of them use the IRS to obtain SSN’s. And no matter the economic situation, they are always on the rise from Jan 1 to May 1.
I recently received a letter in the mail that I have discovered to be a scam…thankfully not by giving out any info or losing any money. This one is pretty slick. I received a letter on a company letter head. It was from Renaissance Nutrition and Financial Inc. They claim in their letter to be a secret shopper agency. I received a check for $3114.28. $375.28 was for me and my “training”. The remaining was to be disbursed between 5 major national companies. There are detailed instruction that I am to call during a specific time and to call when I deposit the money. It also included a form to fill out for each company, I simply needed to make enough copies.
My first red flag was the fact that I have never inquired about being a secret shopper. I have done it once before but not through an “agency”. The second red flag is the check. From what I understand real secret shoppers spend their own cash and get reimbursed. Why would someone entrust me with $3000 and trust that I would actually spend it as I was instructed? I started to get real curious about this and wanted to investigate further. The company name bothered me. Why would a secret shopper agency use “Renaissance Nutrition and Financial Inc” as a business name? It doesn’t make sense. Upon research, the company doesn’t exist. Ironically the business address is in Pennsylvania and the Phone and Fax numbers are in Quebec, Canada. Hubby decided to investigate the check. The check is the oddest clue of them all. The company name on the check is JJ’s Mae, Inc and is in San Francisco, California. This company does in fact exist. However, I think it may have been borrowed. The bank name on the check is Union Bank of California….BUT…..the routing number is for Mellon bank.
Why am I sharing this info? Because I know that someone will fall for this scam. I just hope that maybe….just maybe…someone who would fall for it see this and realizes that it’s nothing but a huge mass of trouble. Had I cashed this check, I would owe my bank the amount of the check once the check bounced. And my other reason for posting this. I am going to send a nice note and link to this blog to the email listed on the letter. I want them to know that I am outing them here and for everyone to see. I want them to know that I will help my fellow people from being screwed over by criminal jerks.