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Findlay, OH – February 13, 2009 + A sophisticated mystery shopping scam continues to spread across the country, conning consumers out of millions of dollars, according to Corporate Research International (CRI), an Ohio-based mystery shopping and consumer satisfaction firm.

The scam involves letters to consumers offering a mystery shopping job to evaluate one or more leading money wire services. The letter is accompanied by a cashier’s check for several thousand dollars with instructions to cash the check at a local bank and then wire the cash to a designated location in Canada. The consumer is directed to keep several hundred dollars as payment for evaluating the service received from the money wire service.

The cashier’s check ultimately bounces and the customer is left liable for the funds.

CRI’s name, along with those of other legitimate firms, has been fraudulently used in the letters to establish credibility with the unsuspecting recipient.

“This is an ongoing problem that seems to be on the rise again,” said Mike Mallett, CEO of CRI. “Law enforcement is obviously involved on a large scale, but we want to do our part in making consumers aware of these scams.”

According to the latest figures from the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, the legitimate mystery shopping industry is estimated at $600 million per year and growing.

“There are many legitimate mystery shopping firms offering valuable services,” said Mallett. “But consumers need to be cautious. I tell people that they should never pay to become a mystery shopper and any offer that looks too good to be true is probably a scam.”

Corporate Research International is a Better Business Bureau accredited business and we do not charge our shoppers any fees or send them checks to cash. If you have received a suspicious letter/check claiming to be from Corporate Research International, please write “void” on the check and take it to your local law enforcement agency. Unfortunately, there are a large number of these scams in effect and they change daily. As such, Corporate Research International is not able to provide information on the companies/individuals responsible nor do we actively pursue investigations into these matters. Please be aware that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you have not performed a job or service where payment by check is expected, receiving a check in advance is almost always an attempt to draw you into a scam. Should you choose to cash said check, you are putting yourself in a position to be liable for those funds. Again, if you have concerns about a check you received or an offer to perform a money transfer, please contact your local law enforcement agency or check the business through the Better Business Bureau at

Corporate Research International is pleased to serve as a resource for the media. Please contact us at [email protected] and we will respond to your inquiry promptly.