The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said that a business called Paid Surveys is sending out bogus cheques for £350 for people to engage in consumer research – with the first assignment being to ‘test’ a money transfer agency.
With the cheque apparently backed by a reputable bank, many people have fallen for the scheme where they transfer £1,500 to Canada to test the transfer.
Unfortunately, the original cheque is not real and the £1,500 is never returned
Christine Wade, OFT assistant chief executive of consumer advice and trading standards, said: “This is a nasty scam which exploits the promise of paid work to defraud victims.
“Scams are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and everyone needs to be on their guard.”
She urged consumers, particularly those struggling to clear debt, to never send money to strangers nor give in to pressure to become a ‘mystery shopper’ or be taken in by the ‘authority’ of a cheque.