BBB Warns that Consumer Research Program is a Hoax

From: Better Business Bureau of Eastern NC
Published: Thu Nov 20 2008


The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Eastern North Carolina (www.bbb.org) is warning consumers to be cautious of an organization posing as A&A Merchandising Ltd. The scammers are sending letters and fake checks for $3,921 to individuals who would agree to serve as a mystery shopper.

“This scam comes at a sensitive time, as unemployment rates are up and people are looking to supplement income,” says Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of BBB of Eastern North Carolina. “Consumers need to verify the legitimacy of an organization before providing information or money to them.”

According to the letters, individuals are selected to take part in a research program before becoming a permanent part-time employee. They are asked to deposit the check in their personal bank account and use the funds to cover training assignments at two different locations. First, they are asked to evaluate the performance of a major retail store. They are then asked to wire funds in the amount of $3,500 to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the wire service.

In complaints to BBB, the phony A&A Merchandising Ltd. lists several different post office boxes and addresses including a fictional Wendell, N.C. location. In addition, artificial checks accompanying the letters use a variety of business and bank names to appear legitimate.

Individuals receiving a letter similar to the ones described above should not correspond with the company, deposit the check into their account or pay for consumer research from their checking account. In addition, recipients of the letter are urged to report the incident to their local BBB. More information is available at www.bbb.org.

About BBB of Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in Eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,200 local business and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by the BBB include, reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit www.bbb.org.

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Company: Better Business Bureau of Eastern NC
Contact Name: Cindy Stranad
Contact Email: cindy@articulon.com
Contact Phone: 919.232.5008

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