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Fake Check Scam

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Have you recieved a check and letter like this one via Mail or Priority Mail?

Warning, this is a Scam. 

Scammers are operating by pretending to be from legitimate companies such as NARMS, the MSPA or one of their member companies, and seeking shopper details by email, telephone and in this case, United States Postal Service Priority Mail. 

LF Hill Merchandising Service and these legitimate companies neither advises shoppers to respond to any email requesting payment from them in advance of conducting assessments, nor to any requests that they cash checks and wire the funds to someone else.


Unfortunately, scammers sometimes use the names of legitimate companies such as NARMS, MSPA or the name of a member or other legitimate companies.  Never click a link you are not sure is real.  If there is any question, you should reach MSPA NARMS or any of their members only through their direct website.

Please be aware that scammers are sending emails and letters which can include the MSPA, NARMS, or member company’s logos, setting up sophisticated websites and even using a similar website address as the legitimate company to add credibility to the scam.

This scam which was attempted on the owner of LF Hill Merchandising Service is a perfect example. Customer 1st is a legitimate mystery shopping company, and a charter member of the MSPA.  Their company website address is 

The scammers hijacked their company logo and list on their phony document a website address of Clicking on that link up until a few days ago when I started working with Law Enforcement to shut down these scammers and protect legitimate companies and Job Seekers, took you to a professional looking website which has now been removed.

NOTE: It is not the operating procedure of LF Hill Merchandising Service or any other legitimate mystery shopping service provider to send you a check prior to completing a mystery shopping assignment, even if a purchase is required as a part of the assignment as is often the case. 

You are required to make the required purchase using your own funds and submit a receipt for reimbursement onece the assignment is completed. If you have any questions about a check received, contact the company directly; don't just go to the website.  Hackers are stealing the website identities of companies and creating websites that look legitimate.  A little extra time in checking the validity will save you a lot of money in the long run.


If you have already received checks from a scammer in the mail. Do not deposit the check! You should report it immediately to the United States Postal Inspection Service  and hold onto any and all materials received for Postal Inspection Service or other Law enforcement agency. 

In addition you can report it to the National Consumers League at via the online complaint form, and you can report scams for further investigation to the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here:  Federal Trade Commission Scam Reporting.


It is important to note that the companies Customer 1st  and Troy Dolan Group and their respective logos used on the document shown below, are legitimate Mystery Shopping companies and not part of but rather had their good names and reputations slandered as a result this fraud.


If you are here seeking a job as a merchandiser and/or Mystery Shopper, You can find legitimate links to the companies and or organizations mentioned here as well as other legitimate companies known to us in the Job Seekers section of our website.

Another such Mystery Shopper Scam currently known to the United States Postal Inspection Service can be viewed by downloading the PDF file below. Alternately this and other mail fraud scams can be viewed at the United States Postal Inspection Service website.


How to protect yourself:

Additional Resources: