LUNENBURG, MINNESOTA -- I have been the victim of a fraud based on sending money via Western Union overseas, in this case to Turkey. Background: I recently retired from the hotel business and moved to Florida. Finding myself with too much time on my hands and not enough money I searched the internet for home based jobs.
After a week of just researching I received an email from a company, Creative Image Associates, offering me a position as a 'mystery shopper'. The request for information on myself and the descriptions of responsibilities seemed routine. I had done mystery shopping previously for companies regarding retail sales, fraudulent goods and restaurants. I googled the company and found no adverse comments and several positive comments from alleged employees indicating they 'shopped' banks for the company.
After completing the requested information I received a packet in the mail which included a check for $2850.00 and instructions to complete two assignments; 1) shop the nearest Walmart Store, spend $100 on personal goods and report on the transactions. 2) send $2400 to a Mr. Jeremiah ** in Istanbul, Turkey. The first Western Union office declined to do so saying if I didn't know the individual it was probably a scam. I however was instructed to attempt a second submission which I did successfully at a Sweetbay Western Union office.
Yesterday I noted my bank account had been reduced by the amount of the original check, $2850. The check was obviously bogus and someone has received $2400 of my money in Istanbul, Turkey. At the same time I received another Fed Ex'd check for $2650; it appears legit but apparently it is not. It states it's a "CASHIERS CHECK" drawn against WELLS FARGO BANK, NA, 3231 I-70 Business Loop, Clifton, CO 81520. The numbers on the bottom of the check are **. The return address on the Fed Ex label is **.
I have saved all email correspondence. My main contact has been a **, Creative Image Associates, Inc (CAIA), Office Address: 2801 Capitol Ave, Sacramento, CA 95816. I have also copied a **. When I notified the company the first Western Union had turned down the transmission I received a dozen calls from a number of calls from ** but could only hear a screeching noise.
I've lost $2850.00 through the bouncing of the bad cashiers check through my bank. I take responsibility for my errors. I'm an ex cop and should have waited for the original check to clear. Regardless, my goal of the moment is to stop these people from scamming others. I'm unsure whether this is a garden variety scam, a money laundering scheme or funding for an anti American organization.
After receiving the second set of instructions yesterday and the check in the Fed Ex envelope I emailed my contact and stated I was in Ft Myers for the weekend and would get around to the transaction when I returned Tuesday. I'm hopeful I have bought some time for your organization to do some diligence. Best of luck to us all.