Police issue new scam warning

“If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

Once again those words come from a police official after some area residents were the victim of a scam.

Dunkirk Police Lt. Mark Timmerman gave the advice after he ex-plained the current scam, one being conducted on-line and through the mail.

“They try to request your assistance, earning $300 per week by just being a mystery shopper and enrolling in this mystery shopper program. What they do is they send you a check made out to you, in this instance for over $1,000, and once you take it to your bank, cash it of course, they direct you to put it on a PayPal,’ he explained.

“Once you do that you’re to give the PayPal ID number to them and they will instruct you further on how you proceed. They do answer the phone number given and direct you to then take part in their survey, go to a Walmart or CVS of your choice, and purchase some items and then fill out their company survey that they put on the back.

“They send you a blank, survey-questionnaire sheet and then once you go to access the money off the PayPal, it’s gone. It’s already been wiped clean, then the check bounces there, there’s no such account.”

The check writer is left with nothing, according to Timmerman.

“They’re out the money, then they accrue the bank costs for the fraudulent account that the check was made out for,” he explained. “So they’re left holding the bag while these other people took off with, in this instance with $1,000. They were able to keep the so-called remainder for payment of their week doing surveys. Of course, there was no money.”

This particular scam was called Monkey Survey and came out of Palo Alto, Calif.

“It provided of course a phone number and fax number that is not legitimate,” Timmerman added. “There is somebody that does answer and they represent themselves as being involved with this mystery shopper program.”

The lieutenant said there was the one set of victims at present but he expects more. With the scam originating out-of-state, he said local police are limited in what they can do.

“The FBI has a minimum threshold and unfortunately this amount doesn’t meet that. They were advised to contact the state Attorney General’s office,” Timmerman explained. “Just be more cautious with this. The form doesn’t even look good. The signature for the research manager looks like it was done in crayon. It was horrible.”

If you have concerns about questionable offers Timmerman advised calling the police department at 366-2266.

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