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Fake survey is latest scam targeting local residents

February 10, 2017
Traer Star-Clipper

I'd like to draw your attention to a scam that has been affecting local residents. Local residents have received letters claiming to be a paid Wal-Mart survey that has turned out to be anything but a quick buck.

Essentially, the scam uses techniques we've seen previously in cases around the Cedar Valley - namely asking potential victims to transfer money.

Mary Ann Kucera was a recent victim of the scam and has shared her experience with us. Below is a copy of her account of what happened:

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January 26, 2017

Here is a detail of my scam/fraud which ended up costing me $1829.00.

I keep thinking I had gotten an e mail asking me to take a survey of WalMart store. I agreed, but after what has happened I went back to my deleted file and could not find the e mail, so now I am questioning myself if I really got one. On Saturday morning, January 21, 2017, around 10 or 11 AM my mailman Ken, brought me an envelope, ExPress Mail, and told me he would be back with my regular mail at the ususal time. I opened the envelope and found the cashier's check and my instructions as what to do. I knew the bank was closed so knew I would have to wait until Monday to take care of this matter. On Monday January 23 2017, I had an appointment in Waterloo at 3:30 PM so went to the bank about 1:30 and cashed the check. The clerk gave me 18 $100 bills, 1 $20, 1 $5 and 4 $1's. I went to my car and texted the message "Received and Processed" at 1:59 PM as was requested in the letter. At 2:13 Pm , they texted me back and asked "Are you taking your survey at the store today?". I replied "yes, I am heading to WalMart now" at 2:19 PM. At 2:56 PM they sent me this text "Let me know when you get to the store."

I got to the store, Wal Mart on 525 Brandilynn Blvd, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613 around 2:30 PM. There were several people in front of me but I got to the clerk at 2:44 PM. His name was Jacob. I told him I wanted to wire $1450 to a Elias Alvarado, at Austin TX 78711. I gave him 15 of the $100 bills and he gave me $32.00 back. The total of the transaction was $1468.00. I was to take $50 and buy some groceries and to keep the rest of the money for my trouble. It took me until 2:54 PM to complete this, I went and bought my groceries and then went through a line where I checked myself out. I had a lady, Wal Mart employee, help me since I hadn't done it before. I didn't get her name as I was in a hurry to get to my appointment. I didn't get the text message about letting them know when I was at the store, until I was on my way to my appointment.

When I found the text message, I replied " Sorry, I just got your message. I am going to a Dr appt." That was at 3:23 PM. At 3:25 PM their text said "You not going to the store." At 3:26 PM "I have been there already". At 3:27 PM their text said "You have to confirm your Walmart receipt # and the transfer reference # to me right here." At that point I texted [transfer reference numbers].

According to my text messages, this came on January 24, 2017, at 8:46 AM, to my email. Their reply at 8:49 AM "check your e mail for the survey form to fill out." "I have received it. I will fill out and return." At 8:52 AM. This was the last of our text messages on my cell phone. I printed out the form, filled out what I couldn't do on the computer, scanned it and e mailed it to the address they gave me Or When I went back to look at the e mails now on Thursday, the 26th, I found the one that is dated January 19, 2017. I wouldn't have found that one until on Sat as I wasn't on the computer at all on Friday, just watching the swearing in of Pres Trump, and it was late on Sat.



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