Updated: Fraud Alert! Don’t cash checks from Surveylot.com!

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Two I’ve Tried That readers have reported receiving cashier’s checks from Surveylot.com, which means there are many more checks out there. This is a classic fake check scam. Don’t cash them! Your bank might tell you that it’s a real cashier’s check. Don’t believe them. Fake checks can bounce up to a year after you’ve deposited them, and your bank will hold you responsible for the money, even if they told you the check was good.

Here are the scam letter, check, and postmark sent to David. Click on the images to enlarge them. I’ve added some editing marks on the letter to illustrate some points I’ll make below.

fake check Scam letter Postmark

I’m certain this letter and check are not really from SurveyLot.com. Look at all the typos and errors in the letter—those are dead giveaways that they weren’t produced by a real business and that they weren’t written or edited by native speakers of English. The postmark is Canadian, but I can’t verify the accuracy of the postal code.

We’ll have a guest poster soon who will describe more completely how the fake check scam works, but for now, remember not to suspend your critical thought: If someone you don’t know and did not contact sends you $3,000 and offers to let you keep $300 for your effort, run fast and far.

Update: It looks like the US Treasury department is already on this one.

What YOU can do
Scams like this one thrive on ignorance and emotional appeal. You can help put these guys out of business by spreading the word about this post and the dirty tricks of scammers that want to kick you when you’re down. Help us get the word out:

  1. Share this post by clicking on the “Share This” link below
  2. Learn more about this and other online scams by reading the Related Posts below
  3. Report fraudulent activity at Scam Victims United and to your local police

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42 Comments

    1. Wow, thanks for the heads up. I’ll be on the look out!

    2. I got the letter and “bank draft” from SurveyLot.com
      It looked fake and they were offering a ridiculous amount of money for very little work! i decided to take the “bank draft” in to the bank it was apparently issued from. Their answer? It’s a scam and they kept the fake draft after photocopying it for me. One of the giveaways was the lousy printing job on the bank draft. Also, the postal code on the envelope for my address was wrong, but the one on the letter was right! Now that’s unprofessional!
      So a heads up to all,they’re working both sides of the border on this one.

    3. I knew the fake check scam since the Nigerian Scam. This is amazing that nigerians have spread their “franchise” all over the world.

      This kind of scam is very common nowadays.

    4. Lisa, where do you live? So far, readers have reported getting the check in California, Chicago, and you, somewhere in Canada.

    5. As a photographer, I often get emails from people who claim to be over seas but planning a big wedding and they really love my stuff, could they book my services. The bad grammar and lack of any normal questions gives them away every time.

      We call it a pay forwarding scam, but their goal is the same as above, send us a big fake check, and get us to send money somewhere else to cover “invitations” or some such.

      Keep up the good work.

      Alex

    6. That’s interesting, Alex. I don’t suppose you ever fell for the scam? Oh, by the way, do you do pet photography? I’ll send you a $10k deposit if you’ll send back $8k to pay for Fifi’s cataract surgery! Thanks!

    7. Joe,

      It’s interesting. It never passed the smell test, but the first time at least, I treated it like it was real. Not only are these guys dishonest, but they are really disorganized. If they had been better at their game, they might have gotten me before I figured them out!

    8. Yes, I guess we’re lucky they aren’t a better organized group. Don’t miss Snoskred’s excellent article that gives all the info you’d ever want about this scam.

    9. What happens if you cash one of these at a local cash checking business?

    10. I wonder if they would cash one? Even if they did, I suspect they’d come after you, hard, when they realize it’s a bad check. I’ve forwarded your question to Snoskred, who’s the expert at large. Did you see her excellent post on the scam?

    11. That’s the thing, if you used a fake ID or something how would they get back to you? If the check was not “called on” until many months later what would they do to track you down?

    12. Just call you Lex Luthor, Criminal Mastermind. I don’t know…maybe they couldn’t track you if you used a fake ID. Let me know if it works, eh?

    13. Joe,
      I live in St.Catharines,Ontario. I’ve been searching actively for home employment for over a year now. Nothing so far,because there just don’t seem to be many opportunities for Canadians. So, I’ve signed up to lots of survey sites which is how I found out about this scam.

    14. Lisa, what kind of work are you looking for? If you’ll tell me a little about your background and skills, I’ll help you look. Email me if you prefer: joe[at]ivetriedthat[dot]com.

      Do you watch the job postings at dailytelecommuter.com? The jobs are mostly in the US, but if you’re willing to work for US$, I don’t think employers would care in some cases.

    15. Joe,

      Thank you very much for the kind offer! dailytelecommuter.com is a site I was previously unaware of, so I’ll certainly give it a look. I have been to a bunch of job search sites, of course.
      Hopefully there are some employers who won’t be concerned that I’m Canadian, so long as it’s strictly telecommuting. Of course I’ll work for US$, why not?

    16. Lisa,
      Excellent. In addition to dailytelecommuter, I recommend you check the Craigslist sites for all Canadian cities. Do you know how to search for telecommuting jobs on Craigslist? I’ve landed several clients that way.

    17. Joe,

      I’ll email you. Thank you for your help so far.

    18. There are actually 2 victims here, the one who got the check, and the one the account numbers belong too.

      Please take off the account numbers on that check, they may belong to a real victim.

      The email Phishers out there obtain these account numbers and then use them to create checks which is why many of the checks stay deposited for a long time, until the owner of the check complains to the bank.

      Once the owner of the check (account nunber) complains to the bank, they take the money out of the account.

      For more information, you can also visit our website.

      take care,
      Anthony
      http://thescambaiter.com

    19. Thanks, Anthony. We’ve scrubbed the account number.

    20. Unfortunatly I was dumb enough to be fooled by this scam and am now liable to pay my bank for the fraudulent check. I have reported complaints to the police, the bbb, the ftc, and the postal service inspection and im starting to think nothings going to happen with these scammers or my financial situation.

      I have the guys phone number and with all the “advances in security technology” I dont see why they just dont use my call records and locate this person that way or whatever technology they use to i dunno try and locate terrorists… if this scam is running frequently across america i dont see why its so hard to find or take real action against these people.

      And another thing…i dont see why im liable to pay for the fraudulent check that these scammers gave me. yea ive been told all the technical terms why but the fact is that I did nothing wrong but put my trust into this person or company and with all the money these banks make it would be the moral thing for them to immediatly credit back the amount for the bad check

    21. I just received this check yesterday. I took it to a banking expert who told me that it indeed looks legit. In fact, the banks that appear on the check are in fact REAL banks. However, I was very leary about cashing this. I had no intention of depositing it in my account but rather going to a check cashing store. I’m glad that I looked up this website before doing so. By the way, there is no known address or phone number which is listed on my letter. I’m glad I saw this first.

    22. How much was your check for, Tara? Did you see this post, in which Snoskred tells all about how these scams work? She also points out you’re more likely to be arrested at those check-cashing stores.

      I’m glad you were smart enough to do some research first.

    23. Just got one of these in the mail. I knew as soon as I looked at it, it was a scam. The typo’s in the letter are a dead give away but the bank draft does look legit. I live outside of Nashville TN.

    24. Hmm.
      heres my story.. i posted a guitar online for sale on the local craigslist, a guy emailed me and said he would be in my area soon and if i could hold the guitar till he got here, for doing this he was sending me a check for $3800.00. well this was 2000. more than i was asking for, and he replyed that he already sent the check but now he needs me to western union $2000. back to him.. wierd thing is, the address he wanted me to transfer to was in a different state the check came from. long story short, i never cashed the check, but i get an email a day from this guy about what a horrible person i am and that i stole his money, even though i never cashed this check..

    25. I just wanted to say this site was very helpful and just saved me alot of money. Thanks from Mississippi

    26. I just received the letter and the cashiers check, thank god I decided to do some research online first to see what other’s outcome was to this. The way the letter was written was my first clue of the fraud, then my boyfriend and I called and the man who answered sounded like he didn’t even know what was going on. So after telling him to go fuck himself, we are taking this to the police. It isn’t surveylot themselves its someone posing as representatives from their company. I just thought I should warn everyone out there, when it seems too good to be true it usually is! good luck everyone!

    27. Ahh crap!! I actually thought this one might earn me a couple extra bucks….back to the drawing board

    28. WOW!
      I WAS THINKING THAT THIS TIME I REALLY FIND A SIGHT THAT I COULD MAKE SOME EXTRA MONEY AT HOME I GUESS ITS NOT OUT THERE

    29. Answered an ad for SurveyLot.com two days ago & was told if I would give them the email address of 3 friends I would be entered into a contest to win $5000. The next day a relative got an email that appeared to be from me though I never sent it, the “from” gave my email address(how on earth do they imitate that?) so he opened the email that had a link to surveylot.com I think. We both erased them from our boxes immediately & reported them to Microsoft as a phishing scam but they already have my address & phone number & if they can send my relatives emails that appear to be from me have they taken over my computer? Can they get in to my internet banking site. Microsoft has not gotten back to me. Thanks for any help.

    30. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP, I GET A SCAM CHECK !!!!! ABOUT ONE A MONTH THANKS AND GOD BLESS!!!!!

    31. thanks for the heads up my husband got a check from these people and after looking at this and other web sites I think it save us from making a mistake

    32. Received a check & letter posted marked from Canada..surveylot.com.. same thing..guess they are still going
      Thet must buy mailing lists! Thank you for the info.

    33. Roy Barrett says:

      recently recieved letter and check to be mystery shopper, decided to investigate Thank God For These posting I did’t need the headache

    34. HEY JUST GOT ONE OF THESE LETTERS IN THE MAIL TODAY? SOMEWHERE FROM CANADA. ITS FROM EMPLOYMENT RESOURCE AID 48 GRAHAM AVE BROOKLYN NY 11206. BUT IT CAME FROM CANADA? CUSTOMER SERVICE EVALUATOR THEY SENT ME A CHECK FOR 3950.00 WANTED ME TO SEND THEM 3100.00 I KEEP 700.00 150.00 SEND FEES. WHEN I READ THAT I KNEW IT WAS A SCAM, WHY SEND A CHECK TO SOMEONE AND THEN WANT ME TO SEND MOST OF IT BACK TO THEM? I HOPE NONE FALLS FOR THIS SCAM.

    35. Yeah…I fell for one of those kinds of checks, but like it was some chick who found me on roommates.com and we started emailing back and forth, but I had already found another roommate. When I told her that, she offered to help me pay bills…and I was in such a rough spot, I was like hell, why not? So, she sent me a check two checks of 4k a piece, and I put one in my bank, and my boyfriend put one in his bank.

      Yeah, I knew something was up, but the money did help at that moment, and I do have to pay it back, but there’s no warrant for my arrest or anything.

      Still sucks.

      Don’t do it.

    36. the scammers at the surveylot.com are alive and well. just received a cashier’s check today drawn on Heritage West Federal Credit Union for $3,978.00, which I was told to cash and use $3,475.00 to purchase a money order at Moneygram as a Secret Shopper, to be sent to an address that will be disclosed later. I was given an “assigned training coordinator @ 1-877-431-3640, email: contactrichard@thesurveylot.com for further clarification.

    37. If the U.S.Treasury Department is on to these guys, why are they still able to spam people using fraudulent bank documents 2 years later??? Since I did not cash the check, how can I file a victim’s report, or alert the authorities?

    38. just got a check today, from southwest missouri CU for 3,978.00. i have trolled the internet looking for message boards and found that overall, this has to be a fraud. despite all this i think i will try to cash it, i am already gonna lose my house and must declare chap 7, so what is the worst that can happen? the money sure could helpright about now

    39. Dan, no, it can get worse. You will cash the check and some time later, it will bounce. That will leave you owing an additional 3,978 PLUS fees. Also, you know that it’s a fraudulent check, so cashing it would be illegal and banks have been known to press charges.

    40. Okay so this guy off craigslist named Raymond Claymond hired me as a driver for him like he said he would be here in like the month but he was gonna send me money up front to prepare…..and get what I need………and then the pay will come weekly he NEVER asked for ANY money back…….and he was supposedly in London some where but my check is from chase bank and the postmark and enevelope has all this funny writing on it…….its written on says 5000 only …..my partner thinks its fake idk….should I take it too someone and just see like if its real and if not report it???? I do somenly live by realisticness and I don’t think if its to good to be true than it is cause I have had some serious blessings and miracles dude but I think this check is pushing it lol……..can someone give advice??? Oh yeah I was scammed like 3 years ago by a pet service it was weird cause the check literally came from no where and I NEVER. Gave anyone my info so we thought it was from this company we sued way forever ago……yeah bank of america shut down my account but they didn’t make me pay back the 100 they gave me………

    41. Bea, I just got a job offer from this Raymond Claymond guy off Craigslist. It’s for a fashion shot and he said that they will be coming to my location to shoot this fashion clothing for an article. He told me that he is going to pay me half the money up front and the rest after the shot is over. I have my doubts so I sent him a series of questions, one of which stated that im bringing a long one of my friend who is a cop. I just emial him back today but when he emails me back ill let you know. I’m in the same boat like you. At the end of the letter it says that he is from New Orleans but his profile stated that he’s from New York. I can’t help but think this is a scam but I’m going to wait and see what happens.

    42. Alisha FAvors says:

      hi muriel i ust got the same email from raymond claymond. if you could email me at alishafavors@yahoo.com with his response

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