craigslist survey scam

I received the following e-mail from reader Shayda asking if this was a scam…

Re:Holiday Shopping Study

Monday, January 12, 2009 7:42 AM

From:

“David Bircham”

To:undisclosed-recipients

Positions for the ‘Holiday Shopping Study’ from Craigslist is full, but we have another survey at

the moment that pays the same ($300 Per survey). Only limited candidates are needed for this survey so kindly go through the survey information below and get back to us if you are interested in participating.

We are a dynamic organization , a development and management Consulting firm involved in helping companies achieve market leadership and Improving connections between professional service firms and their clients.

Our company is currently conducting a survey on MoneyGram International to help measure and improve effectiveness of the services they provide to the general public. This is as a result of complaints from some of MoneyGram reliable customers about the behavior and orderliness of most MoneyGram outlets.

The survey involves you visiting a MoneyGram Outlet in your area and patronize the services they render as a customer, then give us feedback on your overall customer experience with them by filling a simple online questionnaire. A check to cover all expenses needed to conduct this survey will mailed to you via UPS.

Each survey takes a maximum of 1Hr to complete and you will be paid $300 for every survey completed. No Sales Involved and this will not inconvenience your present occupation.

If you are interested in participating, please send us a reply with the following information in the

below sequence.

Full Names:

Mailing Address(P.O. Box not allowed):

City / State / Zip Code:

Home Phone / Cell Phone:

Email Address:

Age / Sex:

Present Occupation:

We shall get back to you after receiving this information to confirm yourparticipation in the survey.

Yours faithfully,

David Bircham

Research Analyst

Magma Consulting LLC.

5 John Walsh Blvd

Suite 40

Peekskill NY 10566

The fact that their using a money transfer service in their ‘survey’ is an automatic red flag. Second, the e-mail sender is using a me.com e-mail address and not a corporate e-mail. Lastly, Magma Consulting is a real company but they do not have an office in Peekskill.

27 thoughts on “craigslist survey scam”

  1. Today is MLK day but I just got a FedEx letter. Inside was a check for $3,600! I googled Magma and Peekskill and came up with the above letter. What would you do?

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  2. I got the same thing, Bobbie. I think it’s a scam. I have no idea how MoneyGrams work, but I don’t think anyone would have us walk into a MoneyGram with $3200 (after we take our “$400” out of the total for payment) and try to send it to someone we don’t know. I think I am going to take it to my bank and see what they think.

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  3. Definitely a scam – If you cashed a check today that bounces tomorrow, you are going to be held responsible for those funds if it bounces. Meaning, if you cashed a check for $3600 today, and the bank finds out on Tuesday that the check is false, you will have to find $3600 to give to the bank to cover the funds that you took out on Monday. Just a thought.

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  4. just received my $3600 check. its a scam. 1st – no magma office in peekskill, 2nd- the check is from “new alternatives fund inc” (not magma) in melville, ny. the bank its from is pnc in west mifflin, pa. (the towns are not near each other). 3rd – check # is 316, kind of a low number (new alternatives is a real co. selling mutual funds and have been in business several years, they do not conduct research). finally, and the best – google yvonnia houston (the “officer” the funds are to be wired to) and “she” has been involved in 2 other moneygram scams using 2 different co. names (mlk marketing and hr survey consulting). they have originated in other parts of the country, some people have fallen for it twice. I have done focus groups for several years, no one pays you $400 for such an easy task with such little oversight. i’ll send davey my own email, as well as the ftc and bbb. other should do the same

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  5. I just received my 3600 dollar check. What should I be doing with it? Mark has some good points. what SHOULD I DO. I am so confused

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  6. I got the same check. Who should I contact about it? I thought it was too good to be true and a little crazy of the amount sent

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  7. Also received the check today – was very wary because I emailed David Bircham and asked if I could deposit the check and wait till it cleared before I pulled the cash to do the survey – this is the response I received: AnnThe funds needed to conducted the survey sent to you are guaranteedso you will have no problems collecting cash over the counter .We need you to have the survey conducted ASAP as time is of the essence.And delays will inevitably disrupt our logistics.RegardsDavid BirchamDelays will disrupt the logistics?? Sorry but if this was a reputable company, they would want to ensure that the participants are comfortable, and they wouldn’t be waiting till the last minute, needing to rush and get everything ASAP. Was going to deposit it and wait anyhow, but now I think I’ll just rip it up. Glad I didn’t use my home address for the fedex!

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  8. I just filed a complaint at the website provided. I suggest you all do the same. My Fed Ex packing slip had a phone number which I intend to call tomorrow and see if it is David or whatever. this is super lame

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  9. Hey there Mark I read what you wrote on Jan. 19 2009 and have pasted your comment But a little to late as my wife fell into the pit $3600. It seems when you are going to make it to the front door the flood comes along and has its way with us. As I was reading along to your comments about your acute in-site I was taken back by how little I know of the streets. So to speek. I would like to offer you any gentlemens favor or deed to help me find myself in the laps of the ones that have ripped at the fabric we call pride. I can be reached at wernzer7@yahoo.com I will toil to make what ever you do for me right. This is a pledge of the highest mark. Thank you WayneJanuary 19, 2009 at 3:08 pmjust received my $3600 check. its a scam. 1st – no magma office in peekskill, 2nd- the check is from “new alternatives fund inc” (not magma) in melville, ny. the bank its from is pnc in west mifflin, pa. (the towns are not near each other). 3rd – check # is 316, kind of a low number (new alternatives is a real co. selling mutual funds and have been in business several years, they do not conduct research). finally, and the best – google yvonnia houston (the “officer” the funds are to be wired to) and “she” has been involved in 2 other moneygram scams using 2 different co. names (mlk marketing and hr survey consulting). they have originated in other parts of the country, some people have fallen for it twice. I have done focus groups for several years, no one pays you $400 for such an easy task with such little oversight. i’ll send davey my own email, as well as the ftc and bbb. other should do the sameReply

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  10. Don’t cash the checks! Just report them if you have the time and/or forget about them. This is no focus group but another way to implement the fake check cashing scam. They are doing it all kinds of way thru Craigslist ads and direct emails. Be careful all. 🙄

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  11. Hey Everyone, I can confirm that this is definetly a scam. I was one of the victims of the MLG Marketing scam from craigslist.org, which involved that name Yvonnia Houston. I was wondering if you could give me the email address that “DAVID” sent to you. My case is currently being investigated and I have reason to believe that it is orginating from California, possibly near the San Francisco area. You can contact me at a_c91@hotmail.com. Thanks!

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  12. Here’s the latest on this scam which is asking for people to do Cola Surveys on Craigslist,Dear Applicant,Positions for the ‘Cola Drink Study’ is full, but we have another survey at this point that pays ($300 Per survey). Only limited candidates are needed for this survey so kindly go through the survey information below and get back to us if you are interested in participating.We are a dynamic Organization Development and Management Consulting firm involved in helping Companies achieve market leadership and Improve connections between professional services firms and their client organization.Our company is currently conducting a survey on MoneyGram International to help measure and improve effectiveness of the services they provide to the general public. This is as a result of complaints from some of MoneyGram reliable customers about the behavior and orderliness of most MoneyGram outlets.The survey involves you visiting a MoneyGram Outlet in your area and patronize the services they render as a customer, then give us feedback on your overall customer experience by filling a simple online questionnaire. A check to cover all expenses needed to conduct this survey will be mailed to you via our courier service.Each survey takes a maximum of 1Hr to complete, and you will be paid $175 for every survey completed. No Sales Involved and this will not inconvenience your present occupation.If you are interested in participating, please send us a reply with the following information in the below sequence.Full Names:Mailing Address(P.O. Box not allowed):City / State / Zip Code:Home Phone / Cell Phone:Email Address:Gender:Present Occupation:We shall get back to you after receiving this information to confirm your participation in the survey.Your faithfully,Glenn NewtonResearch AnalystFocusVision Survey Inc.523 Fellowship RdMount Laurel NJ 08054(856) 393-1558

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  13. Ok, this one is weird because according to Google maps there really is a FocusVision Survey Inc. at that address but a reverse look up for that phone # doesn’t produce any results. But considering they’re trying to get you to use Moneygram it’s safe to assume that it actually is a scam. I just don’t think that FocusVision Survey Inc.is running the scam.

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  14. Hi All, i recently received a check for $2950 and it was for a survey that i saw from craigslist and so i went to a check cashing place because i was told to cash it so i can send the money to someone in california through money gram and evaluate the people who worked at the money gram and the check cashing place confiscated the check from me and made a copy of my ID card…does anyone know if im going to get in trouble for actually trying to cash a check that was sent to me and i had no idea that it was a scam until now since i read everyone’s comment…I’m afraid that the feds are gonna come knocking on my door… i need help can someone please respond to this posting asap…im very scared i dont want to go to jail for something i didnt know about. 😥

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  15. Don’t be scared be prepared. Hopefully you kept your original email and info on how you got the check sent to you. Just share your situation w/ the investigators and show them your info if you have it. You are not alone and they know that. Sorry that happened to you. Good luck! 🙂

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  16. HELLO! I was in the same situation as the previous entry. I too deposited my $2950 check into my BOFA account, a few days later it was reported counterfeit and I am no longer allowed to back with Bank of America. The risk customer service rep told me that this would not effect me. Hopefully not. I have all documents and I am ready for investigation. I am really upset about this situation.

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  17. O.K. I just received a check from FocusVision Survey Inc in the amount of 2950.00. I believe its a scam and would like to know who I can contact to shut these people down. The check was mailed express mail, from Gregory Smith,but the check is signed Woodrow Wilson. Can you believe this!

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