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Old 01.10.2012, 16:45
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New part time job, "survey" scam using checks

This is the way it works:

An advert appears in a national Swiss newspaper in German, (Adverts actually appeared in NZZ and in Tages-Anzeige, respectable newspapers), offering part time employment, with decent pay, CHF 35 to CHF 45 per hour, applicants are asked to e-mail applications to Fred Miesch from Midmiles Survey.

Scammer explains the job is to test service in hotels, shops, banks etc. Applicant agrees and applies.

Shortly afterwards a letter and a cheque for several thousand Euros arrive in the post. Instructions are to pay the cheque into the applicant's bank account, and then use most of the scammer's money to test services at Western Union (Any alarm bells ringing yet?) the applicant has received the money, and is told to keep the balance as his salary payment.

What can go wrong? First the wages, then the job. The applicant pays the money into Western Union for Pretoria South Africa, completes the survey and posts the form to South Africa, and uses the salary payment.

Unbeknown to the applicant, his bank has only provisionally cleared the cheque ("Eingang vorbehalten" or just E.v.). After a few weeks the cheque comes back as not supported, no funds. The applicant's bank takes the money back from the applicant's account. The scammer in South Africa disappears with thousands of Euros...

Last edited by Sbrinz; 02.10.2012 at 01:57.
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Old 01.10.2012, 18:16
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Re: New part time job, "survey" scam using checks

Ingenious, to say the least. Difficult to 'catch the catch' unless one knows about provisional clearance of the cheque - I didn't!
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Old 01.10.2012, 18:56
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Re: New part time job, "survey" scam using checks

This scam isn't really new, I heard about it several years ago.
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Old 01.10.2012, 20:15
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Re: New part time job, "survey" scam using checks

Essentially nobody legit hands over a cheque/check to a stranger they have never met. If it seems to good to be true, it is...
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Old 02.10.2012, 01:54
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Re: New part time job, "survey" scam using checks

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This scam isn't really new, I heard about it several years ago.
According to this week's Beobachter Swiss magazine, page 11, (right hand column, middle of page 11) this trick is only now known to Swiss criminologists.

Consumer protection, (top of right hand column, on page 11) blames the banks for paying out on an unproven cheque.

Everyone agrees that using cheques is dangerous, and unecessary today. But most people are unaware of the trick, and with cash in hand they would not suspect a scam.
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Old 02.10.2012, 02:03
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Re: New part time job, "survey" scam using checks

Came across something very similar around July at work - someone claiming to be a parent who needed to come to Switzerland on a short-term work contract, and wanted summer childcare. Various emails back and forth, and a cheque arrives for 10x the amount agreed. Scammer wants us to bank the cheque and then forward the money for payment for an apartment and other costs...

I wasn't quite aware of what was happening, as it was handled by admin, then saw the letter that came with the cheque and an online search found a single reference to the same scam in Ireland...

We filed the paperwork, notified the bank and also notified the email provider that the scammers were using...

I think it was also deliberate that they tried the scam over the summer, when most childcares would be under pressure and/or closed, and the likelihood of getting someone who is not the 'usual' admissions officer, who is trying to be overly helpful, is higher...

It was fairly streamlined up to the point where the letter and cheque appeared in the post...it also exploited the language divide, as my swiss colleagues gave the benefit of the doubt, whereas a native speaker (you would hope) would pick up on the lack of sophistication in the emails etc.
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