RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Prince Edward County man is warning others about a secret shopper scam delivered right to his mailbox.
Sterling Price, of Rice, received a USPS Priority Mail envelope on Nov. 3 from Casmed Center, Inc.
The package had a check addressed to him for $2,950.52 and a letter with instructions on a “secret survey assignment.”
The letter told Price to deposit the check, purchase several Nike gift cards from any local store, send photos of those gift cards to an email address and then evaluate the service at the store.
As payment, the letter said Price could keep $450 for himself. If he could get the assignment done quickly, he could even get a bonus, according to the instructions.
“A couple things clued me in that it just didn’t sound right. One, the check just didn’t look like a real check,” Price told 8News.
He knew right away it was a scam. Then Price began looking into the company that sent the package, Casmed Center, Inc.
“I started checking into the company that sent it, which I found doesn’t exist,” said Price.
Price also checked the package’s tracking number. Although the package’s return address was for California, the tracking said it had shipped from Puerto Rico.
The company which allegedly wrote the check, Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, is a non-profit in Florida.
The non-profit sent the following statement to 8News after learning about the incident:
“The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center is disheartened to see our name, along with many others, being used in this unfortunate deception. The predatory scheme works in direct opposition of our mission to support human services and the most vulnerable among us.
As this matter is part of an ongoing investigation, we are unable to make comments regarding it at this time.
Potential victims of this type of scam are encouraged to report it using this online form: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/“Kameron P. Hodgens, Ph.D.
Executive Director and CEO
The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
The scammers even texted Price on his cell phone to follow up.
“They called me by my name and told me their name,” Price said, describing the text messages.
He now wants to spread a message to others.
“With the coronavirus and everything going on right now and the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas coming and everybody’s struggling to make end’s meet, that these things are not real and they will cost you probably more than what this actual check is written for,” Price said.
Out of caution, Price said he reported the scam to the Office of the Inspector General and his local sheriff’s office.
For tips from the Better Business Bureau on how to protect yourself from fake check scams, click here.
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