I received a cover letter and check for $1,799.55 from the company LS Optimal Reports Inc. Both the check and cover letter address me by my name, physical address (which is different from my mailing address) and my cell phone number. The cover letter states
"This is to inform you that based on the previous survey by our affiliate Consumer Survey Specialists you indicated your interests in an additional income on a part time bases, you are hereby selected to participate in a paid Mystery Shoppers program as one of the Research Personnel selected under this program. You will be working as a Consumer Service Evaluator of some selected merchant outlets and service probviders."
The spelling and grammar is verbatim from the letter, making that my first red flag. It continues to detail instructions for depositing the check, withdrawing $350 as my first week's pay and then completing Survey Assignment #1 and #2. The letter states that I must first activate my check by visiting their website and entering the username and password they have provided.
I searched Google for hours trying to find anything regarding this company, their address, phone number...anything! The only reference I was able to find was another Ripoff Report made 3 years ago, mentioning the same details with a different company name.
I decided to contact the bank named on the check to find out if this check was even valid. The bank listed is Bank of America Customer Connection. The representative I spoke with looked up the account number on the check and verified that it is a true account...however, when I mentioned the cover letter and directions to cash this check, he quickly advised that I needed to bring this check into a BoA branch so they could investigate further. Although the representative could not tell me any details about the account, he did say the account was personal, not business, and that I should not cash it unless I had an elderly relative who wrote it out on their death bed. *Hint hint...nudge nudge*.
I did sign into their website www.optimalreportsinc.com using the username and password provided. The information there was about the same as on the cover letter. It gives the option to generate Assignment #1 and #2.
1. Deposit Check into regular bank account (saving or checking, check purpose: PAYROLL)
2. Funds should be available between 12-24 hours.
3. Deduct your participation pay: $350.00
4. Withdraw balance money to do assigned assignment.(Proceed to next step immediatelly).
5. Generate your assignment break down (Locate store to evaluate)
6. COMPLETE EVALUATION FORM WITH INFORMATION OBTAINED AFTER EVALUATION
IMPORTANT NOTICE, READ BEFORE YOU GENERATE ASSIGNMENT: Money provided for shopping/evaluation must be available in hand before generating assignment, assignment generated and not completed same day will automatically disqualify you from the ongoing program.
I have not generated either assignment, and I have no intentions of depositing this check. I assume that assignment #1 would be something about sending the remaining balance via Western Union. My bank would take a few weeks to realize the check is fake, I would be charged the fees, my account would be closed and my banking history forever tarnished with the word "FRAUD".
Thank goodness for my good sense of "too good to be true...is too good to be true". I hope others who receive this letter do research so as not to fall victim to this obvious scam.