Winnipeg man warns of possible mail scam
Published Friday, February 1, 2013 6:26PM CST
Last Updated Friday, February 1, 2013 6:34PM CST
A Winnipeg man received a cheque in the mail and a request to be a secret shopper but that cheque could have cost him.
Jim McEachren says the nearly $4,000 cheque addressed to him looked very convincing but he worries it's part of a nationwide scam.
A letter that came with it explains he was chosen for a consumer research project.
It directed him to deposit the cheque, take some of the money for secret shopping and as payment, and wire the rest to other secret shoppers at U-S addresses.
McEachren didn't believe what he read so he called police.
One red flag was that the request is from a Canadian company, using a Canadian bank, but he was asked to wire money to the United States.
RCMP say cheque kiting scams rely on the delay between depositing a cheque and the bank finding out that it bounced.
When it does bounce the person caught in the middle is out the cash.
“If someone sends you an unsolicited cheque for any amount of money and asks you to cash it and do some work for them you can assume their intentions aren't good,” said RCMP Corporal Miles Hiebert.
The letter and cheque sent to McEachern appear to have come from an elevator company in Ontario.
He contacted the business by finding their phone number online.
He says the company told him it had already contacted the bank to let them know about the scam.
When CTV News called the elevator company, they had since contacted police.
The company says since finding out last week, it has received hundreds of calls from across the country.
One woman in British Columbia told them she followed the letter's instructions and is out money because the cheque bounced.
The number listed on the letter is different though, and the elevator company says it's not associated with that business.
CTV called the number to ask why an elevator company would be involved with a secret shopper organization.
The man who picked up said he works for the Edmonton branch of the elevator company who's sponsoring the secret shopper program and that the Ontario office wouldn't comment.
McEachren thinks his contact information was found on a job search website. He worries job seekers are being targeted and might be more inclined to cash the cheque.