PRLog (Press Release)
- Aug. 14, 2013 - SOUTHFIELD, Mich. --
The Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan (http://easternmichigan.bbb.org) (BBB) is warning the public of a company, operating as Galaxy Elite or Galaxy Distribution, that is soliciting local consumers in an apparent mystery shopping scam.
According to complainants, Galaxy Elite is sending checks for thousands of dollars to consumers, indicating they have been selected to participate in a paid Consumer Research Program as an “independent undercover contractor.” They are then asked to deposit the check and then evaluate two companies – one of which is a money wiring service. They are instructed to wire money to a third party to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the service and then they are to shop at a local store and evaluate the customer experience. The remainder of the balance would be their pay.
Unfortunately, it can take days or even more than a week for a bank to become aware a cashed check was fake. Meanwhile, the victim, believing they have the money in the account, sends it. But once a check is deemed worthless, the deposit amount is subtracted from the account. Meanwhile, cash has already been sent out, costing the victim both that cash and potentially penalties for overdrawing their account.
Galaxy Elite purports to be based out of St. Louis, MO, but according to Better Business Bureau reports, the business does not exist at the address given. The company currently has an “F” rating with the BBB. Their business review can be found here: http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/business-reviews/secret-shoppe....
The Better Business Bureau named mystery shopping scams such as this as the ‘Top Employment Scam (http://www.bbb.org/us/article/better-business-bureau-name...)’ of 2012 because of the prevalence of scammers offering bogus mystery shopping jobs. There are however, legitimate mystery shopping opportunities through The Mystery Shopping Providers Association www.mysteryshop.org.
One such company, Shopper’s View (http://www.shoppersview.com/) is one of the BBB’s A+ accredited businesses. Lindsey Dahl, the Shopper’s View Director of Operations at has this to say about mystery shopping:
“Mystery shopping (or secret shopping) is a legitimate business and an extremely valuable tool for analyzing a company’s customer service skills and more. Unfortunately, for the many legitimate mystery shopping companies such as ours, these scammers give the whole industry a black eye as far as the general public is concerned. This is particularly true for those who have fallen prey to a scam.”
To steer clear of get-rich-quick offers, the BBB advises mystery shopper applicants to
· Ignore claims that you will make big profits easily. Mystery shopping will not make you rich; at best it provides part-time income.
· Avoid falling for claims that “guarantee” a position, without training.
· Be cautious of unsolicited e-mails offering “work-from-home.”
· Never pay money up-front. A legitimate mystery shopping service will not charge money for materials, training or recruiting. Never give them your credit card or bank account numbers
· Never wire money. Wiring money is the same as sending cash. Once the money is gone it is very difficult, if not impossible, to recover.
· Obtain the name of the company and check the business out with the local consumer protection agency and state attorney general.
· Look for reputable firms that qualify and train mystery shoppers to perform specific evaluations.
· To find the legitimate companies, review job listings, and to get certified as a Mystery Shopper (required by many companies), sign up with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) at www.mysteryshop.org.
· Check out the company's BBB Business Review at http://www.bbb.org to see its BBB rating, complaint history and more.
If you believe you were a victim of this scam, report it to the following agencies:
· The Federal Trade Commission. Visit ftc.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
· The U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Visit www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect or call your local post office.
· Your state or local consumer protection agencies. Visit www.naag.org
· The BBB at email@example.com
About The Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan
The Better Business Bureau Serving Detroit & Eastern Michigan (http://detroit.bbb.org/) is a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting trust in the marketplace by assisting in the protection of consumers and businesses from fraud and unethical business practices. In addition to its recognized dispute resolution services, the BBB maintains online business reviews on the customer service history of more than 90,000 local businesses and provides consumer education materials on numerous topics. The BBB provides its services free to the public and its service territory stretches across Eastern Michigan from Ann Arbor through Metropolitan Detroit, Lansing, Flint, upward to Alpena, and covers the entire Upper Peninsula of the state.