How I almost got Scammed
You always hear about scams, but you never hear about the victims (Tweet This). Let me tell you a story about how I ALMOST got scammed. It all started when I saw an opportunity posted on Glassdoor to become a “Nike Kit Tester”. I thought it would be something nice to do and would put some extra cash in my pocket. On top of that, it was for my favorite company, Nike! I was so excited! I mean how many chances do you get paid to shop at one of your favorite stores. I immediately sent my resume to the “HR Manager”.
Things got even more interesting from there.
A few days later, the “HR Manager” sent an email congratulating me for being selected. In the email he detailed my success in passing the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers Association) background check and a list of tasks I had to complete. The list included several items and laid out how to complete the evaluation report on my shopping experience at a local Nike store. He further explained that I would receive a check via mail which would include funds for my shopping, and compensation. The remaining amount was to be transferred to another “tester”. The compensation was $300 for each assignment plus a $50 bonus for turning in the report within 24 hours. On top of that, I would get another $100 for writing a good evaluation report. Before I completed any of the tasks above, I conducted my due diligence, well at least I thought I did.
I should have done more.
Once I received the check, my accounting senses started to tingle. I thought it was extremely odd to receive nearly $3,000. A number of questions starting racing in my head, “Wait you mailed me a $2,900.10 check to buy socks, a water bottle, hat, and wristbands? How much should I be spending on the Nike gear? The tester’s contact information was not in the email, how will I transfer the funds?”. I sent him an email listing all of my questions. He replies by saying, “$200 should be used to pay for the clothes and gear, $300 would be my compensation, $100 for transfer fees and transportation, and the rest was to be transferred to the tester. Here is the tester’s contact information.” Because he broke down the numbers, my accounting senses wore off.
I still had a few more questions to ask, but I figured things will iron out after the first assignment.
The day after our email exchanges, I went out-of-town for a business trip and luckily did not deposit the check. The following week I returned and as soon as I was about to deposit the check, one of my family members warned me it was a SCAM! At first I didn’t believe it, but then I took a step back and took a closer look. I messaged a couple of friends of mine that work for Nike to double-check the “HR Manager’s” credentials. I then connected with a bank teller through my family member to get the details of how the scam actually worked.
Before I get into the details of the scam let me go through the signs I didn’t notice earlier.
First, his email address was firstname.lastname@example.org instead of an official email address of the company. Also, the grammar and wording of the email was not clear or correct. Secondly, he was not consistent in his requests of me. I was first drawn to the opportunity because it was described as a product tester for new Nike products. However, after our first email exchange I was told that I would be a mystery shopper. After looking back at our exchanges, I also realized that he changed the amount of items I had to buy and the amount of the evaluation bonus. Lastly and most importantly, taking a closer look at the check, the name of the business was NOT Nike and did not exist within the Better Business Bureau database. There were so many signals that I missed!
Here is how the scam works,
if I didn’t pay attention to the warning signs. Let’s say I deposited the funds into my bank account, my bank would have made the funds available before the check actually cleared. It typically takes five business days for a check of that amount to clear at the bank. The scammer provided the extra incentive to complete the assignment within 24 hours. This is because my last task was to transfer the remaining $2,300 to the following “tester”. Transferring that money before it cleared would have resulted in the check bouncing too late and me completing a non-sufficient funds transfer. The after effect would have been owing the bank $2,900.10 for the bounced check AND the $2,300 for the transfer (the scammer gets $2,300 of my money!). I would have been $5,200.10 in the hole! Also, the bank would’ve closed my account and severed our relationship.
I would have also been under investigation for fraudulent activities.
So how did I catch whiff of this trickery? I mentioned it before, but I really want to emphasize this point. I am fortunate to have a network that has my best interest in becoming successful. When conversing with a family member about the “opportunity” they connected me with a bank teller to explain the scam. I connected with some colleagues who work for Nike to confirm if the “HR Manager” was legitimate. I am so fortunate to have a network that supports me!
So how does scamming relate to building wealth?
On the road to attaining wealth, and life itself, you will be presented with numerous opportunities (Tweet This), some will be good, some will be bad, and some will be deceiving. In this case, it was a deceptive opportunity that almost deterred me from achieving my ultimate goals. No matter what opportunity you are presented, you must ALWAYS conduct an extensive level of due diligence. Always put the time into research as much information as you can. Talk with friends and families about the opportunity to ensure it is legitimate. Develop a little skepticism for every opportunity to ensure you keep yourself safe. This is the mindset a wealthbuilder strives for.
Making quick, informed decisions is key to becoming efficient in achieving your goals.
I know that many individuals might find it embarrassing to talk about how they got caught in a scam. However, I wanted to write about my experience so YOU don’t make the same mistakes I did. As I look back at this incident, I still come up with signs I should have noticed as soon as the opportunity was presented. Are there any other signs that I missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think of the incident.
Edited by N. Cusic