I was checking my email a few weeks back, and had received an email from someone claiming to be a Dr. Kim Lloyd from the Midwest Research Institute, via yaaze.com (a job posting/search site). They were offering me a job as an accounts payable person, where I worked from home processing payments. All they asked for was a "yes" or "no" to the job offer, so figuring I'd be contacted about an interview with more info on the position, I said yes.
A few days later received a response, saying they would be sending me a check, and I was instructed to take it to a bank, cash it, keep 10% and send the rest to an address in London, where they said a field researcher would be picking it up as they needed additional funding. I didn't think much of it, I didn't really care if I got the job or not, they had only sent a message asking yes or no to a job offer and I figured I'd say yeah, what's wrong with an online part time job, and if I didn't get it, I had a job and I wasn't exactly going out of my way to do anything.
I don't pay much mind to the email, thinking it was strange that they had not performed any sort of interview or anything though. Then, a few days later, I received an email saying the package had arrived at my house (they had asked for my full name, address and cell number in a previous email). I opened it up, and there was an envelope with my name and a check for $2499. I was supposed to do exactly as they said, cash it, keep 10%, and send the rest to London via Western union. I wondered if it was possible to get that much cashed at a bank, and almost considered depositing it and writing my own check!
I'm thinking this is beyond strange; why would someone send a check made out to my name for $2499 and depend on the good will of people not to simply keep it for themselves? How did they know I wasn't a coke addict or had a history of being prone to taking money form companies I had worked for (I don't, but how would they have known?). I think it is odd, and I'm speculating about the legitimacy of the situation (even if I did actually end up with 10% of the $2499, what were they using it for? Why didn't they send it themselves? Why risk sending someone so much money just to have it re-delivered, and such a high cost?). So I go to a bank, give them the check and they tell me it is counterfeit.
They wanted someone to cash the check, send the money, and then pay it back to the bank once it was found that the check was fake. But the bank employees could spot it. It didn't have any kind of authenticity to it (it actually looked like one of those advertisement checks you get in the mail, I realized this as I gave it to the bank, feeling silly, to say the least). They would have had to rely on the person putting all the money in the their account (after all, it is a check supposedly worth $2499 made out to the person), depositing it all and using their own funds to back it, only to realize later that the check was phony. Luckily I have no money, so there was no way I was backing that. I was lucky.
I contacted the agency, Midwest Research Institute, and it seems they are a legitimate company, and are aware of the scam but figuring out what to do about it. They send out emails (in this case via yaaze) claiming to be part of the company, posting their address and links to the company's website. The person talks about the company, which is supposed to be a non profit organization. Why would a non profit organization pay people they do not know so much just to take a check one step further to a money delivery service. Why not just send the money electronically? I got duped on this one, luckily I got out without any financial harm.