I, too, received 'mystery shop' assignments from CUSTOMER EVALUATION SERVICES ( CES ).
The CES website www.customer-evaluation.com is still active today and accepting registrations. The phone/fax # listed on the shopper instructions are also still active today, Wednesday 10/24/2007.
As of Tuesday, 10/23/2007 15:00EST I have reported (oral & writing) this SCAM to:
Wachovia Bank Corporate HQ Loss Prevention HIGH RISK 704 427 5214 & FAX 704 427 1604
Dept Homeland Security Immigration & Customs Enforcement DHS ICE in Massena, NY (where the checks are from) @ FAX 315 764 5291 or voice 315 769 3739x204
The Orlando offices of the US Secret Service 407-648-6333 & FBI 407-875-9976 + the Corporate FEDEX & WalMart loss prevention departments
Let's not let the CES players shuffle & move on LET'S PUT EM IN HANDCUFFS!
If you're involved in this, I encourage you to DO NOT CALL CES to complain! That'll just make CES change venues & tactics. INSTEAD, just do a small part of your mystery shop fax them back just a single page of your report [your instruction sheet] to KEEP THAT FAX LINE ALIVE; also KEEP THAT EMAIL ACCOUNT ALIVE & send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org com & ask if they got your fax documents. Try to make CES contact YOU again for the information they need to pick up their money.
Meanwhile DO CONTACT your bank & the bank from which your checks were drawn & provide documentation that you may have [the money gram receipt, copies of the checks, shopping assignment cover letters, etc]. Also consider contacting FEDEX, the US Secret Service, and DHS Customs in your area [or the POC noted above].
Mystery shopping is not new to me; I've completed & been paid for many, many evaulations of several restaurants & real estate businesses through the past 10 years. I've found that mystery shopping CAN BE a fun way to make a few bucks once in a while.
On 10/16/2007 I received a FEDEX package tracking 7997 3381 9922 from CES CUSTOMER EVALUATION SERVICES requesting that I perform a mystery shop at the MONEYGRAM desk of a local WalMart location in Florida. Enclosed were instructions and a check drawn from TWIN RIVERS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION in Messena NY, Acct # ACCOUNT 9111001001006 in the amount of $980.00. The instructions were to send $830.00 of the total to a 'relative' with my same last name in ONTARIO CANADA.
I thought the job was unusual and the CES cover-letter had some grammatical errors but overall it appeared to be a paid, professional mystery shopping gig -- and I did the job.
I deposited the $980 check in my Wachovia business account via ATM drive-through on Tuesday, 10/16/2007 [ I keep a business account specifically for NON PERSONAL HOUSEHOLD transactions like these ]; on Thursday, 10/18/2007 when funds were made available by Wachovia, I made a withdrawal of $830.00+ transaction fees and did the job at the MoneyGram desk at the WalMart in Ocoee, Florida.
and then just 5 days later on Tuesday, 10/23/2007 FEDEX package tracking 7908 5596 6162 arrived at my door in an envelope that had been opened, re-sealed with US DEPT HOMELAND SECURITY / CUSTOMS tape, and then forwarded on to me by the Department of Homeland Security Customs Enforcement. The package passed DHS BORDER inspection: these 'jobs' appeared to be worth $360+ to me if I'd simply go to WalMart and do the jobs.
My Spidey-Sense was already tingling from the 1st job; after 5 days, I hadn't received confirmation of receipt of my report, my email, or my phone call yet here I receive ANOTHER FEDEX containing THREE MORE CHECKS, EACH IN THE AMOUNT OF $980.00 and again drawn from TWIN RIVERS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION ACCOUNT 911001001006. The instructions were much sloppier than the 1st job, and were to be done immediately, again with FICTITIOUS FIRST NAMES of relatives with MY SAME LAST NAME
Now this 2nd pkg was just TOO WEIRD even for me. It screamed SCAM to ' wash checks ' through bogus & actual US bank accounts. Like your Ma told you... ' if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is '