N. Texas Company Snared in Secret Shopper Scheme

Business says its name, logo used on fake checks

A North Texas business says its name and logo were fraudulently used in a check-fraud scheme that promises to pay people for being "secret shoppers."

Galaxy Electronics, a Richardson fiber optic cable company, has received more than 50 of the checks from across the country. The company's bank refused to cash the checks.

Jay Dorfman, of Galaxy Electronics, said his company started getting calls from people who received the checks after New Year's Day.

"If we would have totaled up the amount of checks that hit our bank and people (that) called us, it would have been close to a quarter million dollars we would have lost if we had not caught this in time," he said.

The recipients received letters with the address of a real company in Pennsylvania, but arrived in envelopes with Canadian postmarks. The letters ask them to market test a wire transfer and send most of the money back.

The U.S. Postal Service said Galaxy and the check recipients are the latest victims of a common scheme.

Agent Amanda McMurrey said the postal service seized more than 230,000 counterfeit checks in suspicious Canadian mail at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport between April 2007 and June 2008.

McMurrey said victims are often looking for an easy way to make money, but wind up losing.

"When the check comes back counterfeit -- sometimes days or weeks later -- and they've already wired several thousand dollars to these scam artists, they're really out some money," she said.

Agents said the senders are very hard to find. They urge consumers to be very cautious if they receive an unexpected check or are asked to wire money anywhere.

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