I was scammed by someone posing as SurveyLot.com

35 Comments

[Note: Surveylot.com is not the scammer here. Someone has simply made fake checks with the Surveylot.com information on them, so Surveylot.com is a victim, too.]

I’ve Tried That reader Joanna shared her story in the comments section of a Surveylot.com post.

SurveyLot.com is a complete scam. 2 weeks ago after my husband lost his job, I received a letter in the mail “Opinions for Cash” is what this person called it. Stupid me…my husband just lost his job, we have no income coming in and I thought “Thank you Lord” this came at just the right time. I thought it would help to atleast put food on the table for my 3 children. BOY was I WRONG! COMPLETE SCAM!!! Now, not only do I have to conjure up some money for food, rent, and bills. Now I have to pay back my bank for a fraudulent cashier’s check SurveyLot.com sent me to do this job of “Opinions for Cash”.

Please everyone be warned…this is a COMPLETE SCAM Do not be fooled like I was.

That emotional tug is the common theme emerging from our “I was scammed” stories. When faced with the need to feed 3 children, as in this case, or the unexpected loss of income, ordinarily smart people turn to the Internet and switch off a portion of their brains.

But hold on, what’s this? A fraudulent cashier’s check? I asked Joanna for more information and here’s what she wrote:

I was told to cash or deposit this cashier’s check into my bank account,then go to my nearest Walmart and send a moneygram to a ficticious person in the amount of $2500.00 Now this is also a ficticious check according to my bank and the bank this check was so called issued from. So I am now liable to pay my bank back this amount of the ficticious check of $2905.00.

Whoa! We knew Surveylot.com was shady, but the classic fake check scam?? To the tune of three grand?? That’s another ballgame entirely. So much so, in fact, that I wondered if Joanna doesn’t have her scammers mixed up. But she said no. She received a letter on Surveylot.com letterhead, which referred her back to the website. Curiouser and curiouser, as they say down in the bayou.

Speaking of fake checks, check out Snoskred’s story. He made $5 million this year! (All fake checks, though. Maybe he uses it to pay rent on a fake apartment or to buy fake food.)

What YOU can do
Scams like this one thrive on ignorance and emotional appeal. You can help put these guys out of business by spreading the word about this post and the dirty tricks of scammers that want to kick you when you’re down. Help us get the word out:

  1. Share this post by clicking on the “Share This” link below
  2. Learn more about this and other online scams by reading the Related Posts below
  3. Report fraudulent activity at Scam Victims United and to your local police

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35 Comments

  1. Can the money from taking surveys be deposited into a Paypal account instead of receiving a check? I’m wondering if this will eliminate the scams.

    Reply
  2. I just received a check for $3975.20 … $3475.00 to go for the Money Gram Evaluation. I’ll say one thing in their favor – it all really looks legit, at first anyway. It said to wait until the funds cleared my bank. (I never knew that checks can bounce for up to a year.)

    The survey you fill out after sending the $$ makes it seem as if they are doing Market Research for Money Gram. I have heard of them of course, but Western Union always comes to mind first if I need to send $. That and ‘wait till the funds clear’ kept me from instantly putting it all in the shredder.

    Wonder why it is so hard to stop them?

    Reply
  3. I got a check also and checked out the bank it was drawn on. Bank looked o.k. but I have not called yet to see if the funds are in there. If they are ,Why can’t I cash it without going through the bank and never completing their scam. They would be in trouble for writing the check and the bank not me. Over $100.00 Bad check writing is a felony.

    Reply
    1. Because you know the check is bad. The funds aren’t there. The bank might be real, but the account is not a real account at that bank. Cashing it would be a crime.

  4. SurveyLot is a victim in this scam, too. It is only a website that has a list of reputable survey companies and so SurveyLot doesn’t actually send out the checks. Fortunately, I haven’t had that particular thing happen to me but I have had a few scammers try to pull the wool over my eyes. Don’t get discouraged. There are still some good guys out there.

    Reply
  5. I just received TWO magical offers from two separate companies (SurveyLot and Teleservices Marketing Company) for a whopping GRAND TOTAL of $6865.00! Jeepers! What WILL I do? Maybe a trip to Vegas? This luck just HAS to continue!!

    The really funny thing is that I can’t even cash them. Gene Turner is my pseudonym (so to speak). I use that name when I sign up for what appears to be legit things on the ‘net.

    So I guess the real question is do I keep them and see how much I can collect (maybe sell them on Ebay) or turn them over to the police?

    Whatta buncha goats gleats…….

    Reply
  6. is lightspeed consumer panel a bogus website too for this same thing to.

    Reply
  7. Marisa; good luck on your search for a job. We have all gone through those times. I hope the children’s father is helping support the children. I know all too well what your going through having not received a penny of support. My old god send was the fact that I am a Microsoft Engineer and have had this certification since Windows 2000. I have worked for myself for 7 years and I do understand all that your trying to achieve. These scam artists that contacted me also used the Walmart payment system with me. What I was supposed to do was go to my bank cash the check and go to Walmart and send money using their system minus $300.00 to keep for myself for my time. My first stop was Walmart to chat with the Mgr who had no idea about this program but had tipped me off about a scam like this she had heard of. My next stop with the internet and I did a few searches only to find out the check (which I had not cashed) was worth less than the paper it was printed on. These guys were based out of Canada and I called them and spoke with them; while not letting on I knew it was a scam. I also contacted the FBI who met with me to take the check. I am unsure if they followed through with the scam; it would have been cool if those jerks got caught.

    Again good luck on your search, this past post of yours appears that I might have misjudged you; be careful and keep a clear head like you have right now and you will never get caught by those azzwipes. I know when I worked at the Geek Sqd as a Special Agent we had Secret Shoppers come into our store unannounced and they were actually employees of Best Buy and not employed by anyone else.

    Reply
  8. My only point in my initial response was that this encashing check thing at wal-mart and sending to a bogus name in either the US or other countries is a wide-spread type of scam. It is seen everywhere, it seems.

    In my case, they wanted to rip me off for thousands of dollars by instructing me to send the amount (from the check they sent) through wal-mart’s money gram service and two of them even told me/should is say, gave me an option to personally give the item I was selling along with the cash from the check minus triple the amount I was selling the items for to the pick-up service they had contacted (so they say) at the very city I currently reside. They wanted the things I was selling and cash! I couldn’t believe it! And of course, they tried threatening me afterwards saying they’ve alerted the authorities for my not sending their money! Ugh!

    I mentioned considering “mystery shopping” due to the fact that I researched on it and (still at it, actually). I have no intention of doing that kind of work if I am required to shell-out my own money. There are legitimate “mystery shopping” work out there. It’s just a matter of being wise and patient enough to find the real ones.

    Jon, thanks for the interest in helping me out. I’m a college graduate (medical field-PT) but have worked as a manager/trainor in customer service/call center/telemarketing industry for at least 8 years.
    It wouldn’t be so difficult for me to find a PT job if only I was already licensed. Licensure, of course, has fees to be paid before I can be allowed to take the exam and that amount I still have to save up for.

    This unemployment status has been a nightmare! Any help/advice/whatever is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  9. Oh no, I received a Secret shopper check about three weeks after Katrina hit Mississippi (I live in Biloxi, Ms) and due to the high winds I received most of my damage / flooding. The appliances were all destroyed because a huge tree snapped out power line connected to the hose and I am assuming that before the main line broke a huge power surge went through my house and zapped everything attached to the electrical system in the house. My fridge, washer, dryer, stove, microwave, tv’s, stereo’s, guitar amps, toaster oven, and finally my George Foreman grill (which hurt the most, I loved that thing). Since I had lost so much I really wanted that check in my hand to be real; and almost fell for the scam. They must have been targeting the area because of Katrina as a few of my neighbors received checks also. I gave mine to the FBI and they did what ever the FBI does. I hope they caught the jerks who did the scam. Low life azzholes, preying on people during difficult times in their lives; thats when your most wanting this to be real and creative thought process tries to make this scam legit and most fall for it. I had been doing loads of soul searching but finally decided to do the right thing and research the check, its then and only then I found out this was a scam.

    Reply
  10. Jocko, are you saying you lost all of that because you fell for a Secret shopper scam and cashed a fake check? Say it ain’t so!

    Marisa, what kind of job skills do you have? We might be able to point you in the right direction.

    Reply
  11. All I know is your desperate (its in the letter) and these are testing times. Times that will allow for someone who normally is not easily tricked to be tricked and fooled very easily. If you feel you have a strong will and are smarter than those who’s job’s are to rip off others. Do not fool yourself. These guys are really good as cons and just the simple fact that your considering this. Its a world where its so easy to want to believe in miracles to take care of your children, I hope you are able to get a real job, and stay away from all “Free stuff,and Work at home scams”. I know it almost worked on me; thats why I post here. It was right after Katrina and I received a check for the “Secret Shopper scam”, I lost a car, all house appliances, roof with huge holes, fence tore down, no electricity and almost all my clients disappeared on that faithful day in August 2005. I am a single dad who did raise his kids, so please don’t try to assume who I am; because you have no clue. Do not fall for these tricks…

    Reply
  12. Jocko, you must’ve responded before actually understanding a person’s situation. I would get a real job if there was one available! Have you checked on our economy these days?
    A mother is far more intelligent than a man who thinks he can comment on other people’s lives.

    Reply
  13. Marisa: Hit the pavement and get a real job. As you mentioned your in no position to fall for a scam. These people are crooks plain and simple. The only true Mystery shoppers are those who work for that specific company. Best buy employs their own; as does Walmart. Be smart here and use this tool; if it sounds to good to be true…. Good luck on your search for a real job.

    Reply
  14. Hi, everyone.

    I’ve been contemplating on getting into the mystery shopping business ever since I was laid-off a couple of months ago. I’m a single mom of 2 very young boys so, naturally, I am trying to see what I can do to keep providing for my family. I posted some for sale ads on craigslist and got several replies with the exact instructions as what you have posted here. Received checks, wanted me to go to wal-mart, send money gram and the rest, we all know already.

    They sent me numerous e-mails saying I’m the one they’ve reported to the authorities for not sending them their money! How disturbing is that?!!?! Of course, I didn’t care because I wasn’t the scammer. But, this just tells us how low people can go to hurt other people trying to make a decent living.

    Now, I’m researching as much as I can on “mystery shopping” before I even get into it. I am not in a position to make any mistake. I have no room for money loss. If anybody can teach me the right way of going about in becoming a mystery shopper and actually earning from this, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  15. I just got the same cashiers check for a moneygram at Walmart and knowing that this is a scam I called the Surveylot.com numbers provided to me on the letter and had them send me another check for my “friend” who really wanted to do this with me. They overnighted another bogus check to my address the next day. But the best part was everyone I talked to had a Nigerian accent. Even the bank rep. from Kentucky. ..lol..

    Reply
  16. i just got the same thing my check is for 4940.25 and it says to deposit this check and then money gram 3 grand of it to a ruby whatever my last name is to evaluate the moneygram system and then to spend a 100 dollars at a given store in the mall

    Reply
  17. i just received a check and letter from Survey lot. Check in the amount of 2592.00, letter says to go to Walmart w/a Moneygram Travelers location.

    Reply
  18. I think that you need to state more prominently on your website that this is a scam but not by the people of Surverylot.com This is very misleading unless people read through all the comments. From the begining you make this sound like a scam perpetrated by this survey company.

    Reply
  19. Glad you didn’t fall for it, Jocko. I have no doubt that the scammers targeted that area following Katrina, knowing that lots of people would be anxious for quick money.

    Reply
  20. I received a check for 3.5k right after Katrina (I live in Biloxi Ms) and I really wanted it to be true. I lost so much because of the storm but this check just showed up and asked me to be a secret shopper and deposit/cash check and send 3.1k to a Canadian Walmart(or some store that shares their Money Grams) and leave the rest for my troubles. I went to the local store and spoke with the Manager on Duty and she laughed a little and said she had no idea. Well I guess my thought process was slightly damaged from all the MRE’s. I went to a friends house who had internet and electricity and did a google search. I called the FBI and they took the check and said “Thank You”………. Jocko

    Reply
  21. I just got one of these “checks” in the mail. It came in an envelope with no return address and dated a month old.

    Check amount: $3850. The check is dated 11/29/07. It is drawn off Marine Federal Credit Union. It is sent by a Sean Williams. It says I get $340 for my work secret shopping…

    I already called the police. They are coming to my house to take the letter and make a report. No one would send a stranger nearly 4k for work not done. Hopefully not too many will fall for this.

    Reply
  22. Yeah, that’s a good point. Maybe we should write and ask them, “When did you stop scamming people with fake checks?”

    Reply
  23. David Tomlinson says:

    Yeah, but the funny thing is: I never got a reply From SurveyLot, from my accusation, if they were honest, you would have thought I’d have gotten an immediate reply/apology, repudiating the scam.

    I guess they don’t care, or they really are a part of the scam. Or their business model is indistinguishable from a scam.

    David

    Reply
  24. Smek,
    Remember, these fake checks are not really from Surveylot.com. That’s just the fake logo the scammers are using. The likelihood of you getting one of those checks is small, and has nothing to do with you having signed up at surveylot.com.

    Reply
  25. Hey i was wondering i went on surveylot and signed up and gave them my postal code. But i did nothing further. I have not signed up or clicked for any surveys. Have i went to far and is there anything i can do so that these problems do not happen to me.

    Reply
  26. I’ve always wondered about these types of programs. Thanks for the heads up!

    Reply
  27. Most excellent response to them, David. Almost in true Richard Williams fashion.

    Reply
  28. David Tomlinson says:

    I went to the surveylot.com web site and used their ‘contact us’ web form to send the following, I’ll let you know how they respond:

    Received a letter and a check for $3300 from your company this month. It wanted me to deposit the check, engage in a MoneyGram survey and send $2800 to another party.

    Wow, you just send me a check for $3300 out of the blue? Thanks, I’m rushing off to the bank now to deposit it.

    Or, is this a scam that surveylot.com is perpetuating on the unsuspecting public? Do you know your name is appearing on a letterhead involved in a potential scam?

    David Tomlinson

    Reply
  29. Got them. I think you’re right. I’ll feature the check and other material in a follow-up post.

    Reply
  30. David Tomlinson says:

    OK, I just sent you photos of the check, envelope, letter and ‘survey form’.

    I think this is just a slightly more sophisticated version of the Nigerian (?) email scam. I don’t think either the surveylot.com or Moneygram logos on the letter are legit.

    David

    Reply
  31. David, this is really shaping up to be a frightening trend. I would love more information and to see a copy of the check and letter. Please send them to me at joe[at]ivetriedthat[dot]com.

    Reply
  32. David Tomlinson says:

    I received a check for $3300 from Surveylot.com this month. The accompanying letter told me about how I could become a ‘secret shopper’ by first participating in a “MoneyGram Money Transfer” survey. Apparently, I was supposed deposit the check and to wire $2800 to a ‘to-be disclosed’ recipient. I needed to call 1-888-625-5220 to get started and receive the name of the recipient.

    Too good to be true, free money? I guess so.

    I’m glad I saw your web site and Snoskred’s posting. Contact me for more info, including scans of the letter and the check.

    Reply
  33. Thanks for the tip, Snoskred. I never would have known that the bank could say a check was valid only to change their minds later–except for your site. Keep up the good work. You might get a kick out of our own little scam adventure. Check out the Nigerian scam series.

    Reply
  34. The checks keep rolling in, too.

    The most important lesson people should learn is – do not trust your bank when they tell you a check has cleared. The check may bounce up to a YEAR later. :(

    Thanks for linking to the article, every person educated is another person saved from being scammed.. :)

    Snoskred
    http://www.snoskred.org/

    Reply

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