Warning from BBB—JobQuest scam alert

The Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois in Rockford is warning individuals who may have replied to a classified ad for an employment opportunity with JobQuest that they may have involved themselves in a scam. The job listing ran for seven days, during the week of Oct. 16-20, in the Rockford Register Star’s classified section “The Source.”

The ad offers individuals employment as customer service evaluators/secret shoppers. Dennis Horton, director of the Regional Office, says, “We received a call today (Oct. 25) from an individual who responded to the ad and who became suspicious after he received a cashier’s check and instructions in the mail instead of an application packet.” The check in the amount of $2,900 was drawn on First Credit Union of Tempe, Ariz. Horton says; “We contacted the credit union and found that the check is fraudulent. We were told by a representative of the credit union that they do not issue checks with the words ‘cashier’s check’ on them. She also checked the account number and the check number to verify that it is fake.”

Here’s how the scam works. The check is sent to the applicant with partial instructions informing them that the objective of the job is to evaluate the MoneyGram operations in Wal-Mart stores. They are told they are to pose as a customer sending funds to a relative in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The first task is to cash the check and then call for further instructions. They are then told to go to a MoneyGram at a Wal-Mart to wire the funds and observe the operation’s customer service.

A check with the Better Business Bureau in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, produced information that the address given for JobQuest is invalid and that it is a company perpetrating corporate identity theft, giving the impression that they are the same as or similar to a company known as Service Intelligence. Service Intelligence is a member of the BBB of Southern Alberta and does business as SecretShopNet/Secret Shopper. JobQuest hosts a Web site, www.secretshoppers.ca.

Horton says anyone who has received and cashed the check should contact their bank immediately and to also contact the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) at (877) 275-3342. Additionally, he says, “Even though they are victims, they will still be responsible for repayment of any funds withdrawn.”

From the Nov. 15-21, 2006, issue

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