The most popular survey fraud that people still fall for is undoubtedly the cheque-cashing scheme. This scam has hit people around the globe, on all income and educational levels. Even people who consider themselves extremely smart and computer savvy are still falling for this scam that has been around for the past decade.
Here is how the fraud works:
- You receive a cheque or money order in the mail. You may have been told ahead of time that this check would be arriving in your post office box.
- You are instructed to cash the cheque, and send part of the money back to the company who sent you the cheque. The part you keep may be called your payment or reward for completing the survey.
- A few days later, your bank will call you to inform you that the cheque or money order was fake.
- You will then be required to pay the bank back, even the portion that you returned to the company or individual.
- You will be unable to contact the person or company you sent part of the money to, as they will have seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth.
Many people who fall for this swindle are embarrassed and do not report it to the authorities. The victim probably had direct contact with a friendly individual or company representative and thought it was okay to cash the cheque or money order.
This scam is widespread and used in several money-making channels. The company may send you a small check and say the part you keep is for completing surveys and the part you return is the taxable portion. This popular scam is also known as the “Lottery Scam” when people are sent high dollar cheque and are told they have won a cash prize and just need to return the taxable portion.
Unfortunately, many people who fall for this scam face hardship when it comes time to repay the bank or cheque cashing company. Numerous senior citizens have been tricked out of their retirement fund, and young college students have been left with an empty bank account and angry parents. The scammers are located across the globe in countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Nigeria, and even Canada.
There are ways you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of the cheque cashing scam:
- Never cash a cheque or money order if you have to return part of the payment.
- Try to work with companies that pay their survey takers in PayPal.
- If you do receive a cheque as payment from a reputable survey company, do not spend the funds until your bank confirms the cheque has cleared.
- Report any suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
- Beware of offers that seem to good to be true.
- Beware of anyone that calls you on the telephone. Your safest form of communication is by email, as you have a record of the communication.
Unfortunately, this is just one of the many scams that plague the online survey community. I hope that by informing you I can prevent you from being defrauded in the future. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment. Additional, if you have a topic you would like to read about in the future I would love to write about it!