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Beware of PineCone Research Customer or Secret Shopper Survey Scams

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Beware of PineCone Research Customer or Secret Shopper Survey Scams

If you have received email messages appearing as if they came from PineCone Research, promising you money in order to complete surveys, cash a Check (Cheque) or request personal information, please delete these email messages. These emails are scams that may get you arrested. Please be aware that Pinecone Research has no involvement in these scams. Participating in their surveys is always free of charge, and they will never ask their panelists to cash a check for a large amount and then use the proceeds to "test" a service.

A Sample of a PineCone Research Email Scam

Customer Insights Survey!!!

Dear Prospective Shopper,

We are currently accepting limited number of applications from competent shoppers to evaluate Western Union's services and programs, both in-store and on their Website.

Job Description & Responsibilities;

(1) As our shopper posing as normal customers, you will be required to visit the nearest outlet near you to perform specific tasks such as purchasing a product or using a service.

(2) Funds will be provided in form of a Certified Check to cover the expenses of evaluating the outlet.

(3) While there, you will secretly evaluate things like customer service, store cleanliness and quality of service rendered.

(4) Upon completion of the survey you're to simply send us an E-mail with your rating of the store.

Payment Terms;

You will receive a flat sum of $200.00 per assignment. It's fun and rewarding. There is no charge to become a volunteer and You do not require any special skills for this opening.

Application Procedure;

We would like you to participate because it's Fun & Rewarding, please fill out the Application below as we hope to Welcome You to PineCone Research ;

Full Names:
Address Line 1:
Address Line 2:
Zip Code:
Home Phone Number:
Cell / Mobile Phone Number:

We're dedicated to providing our customers the best services possible, and you can help!

Business Evaluation Survey!!!

You have been invited to participate in our Business Evaluation Survey !!! ($150 per survey)

PineCone Research assigns over 150,000 in-store surveys each year and has provided business evaluation services for over 15 years. It is free to sign up and we are always looking for enthusiastic new panelists.

Through our business evaluation surveys, PineCone Research delivers an accurate picture of the customer experience and services using on-profile people in real situations to report on their interaction. Apply to join our panel and get paid to shop, enjoy leisure activities, or have your say on customer service standards.

If you would like to be considered for assignments, please fill the requested application below:

Address Line 1:
Address Line 2:
Zip Code:
Home Phone Number
Cell / Mobile Phone Number

Pinecone Research posted the following warning on their website:

Important Security Notice:

We have been made aware that third parties may be attempting to use the names and logos of Pinecone Research for different "scams." One example of such a scam is a "mystery shopping" assignment. Essentially, the victim is provided a fake check and advised to cash it, and then use some of the proceeds to test a service (for example, testing a Western Union wire transfer). The victim is advised that he or she may retain the balance from the cashed check as payment, however, the check later bounces. Other examples include recruiting for "business evaluation surveys" or "hiring" employees.

Please be aware that Pinecone Research has no involvement in these fraudulent transactions. Participating in our surveys is always free of charge, and we never ask our panelists to cash a check for a large amount and then use the proceeds to “test” a service. Furthermore, all communications with us will always be with the email address "” -- be wary of any email that asks you to respond to a different address, or asks you to respond by clicking on a link within the email. Please be aware that email sending addresses can be faked, and so it's possible for a fake email to appear to have come from this address.)

If you are targeted by any of these scams, please report any information regarding these activities to local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) "" reporting system ( in the United States or the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre ( in Canada.

The Better Business Bureau also posted the following warning on their website:

BBB is issuing a warning about a business, posing as PineCone Research Panel, to fraudulently conduct a mystery shopping check cashing scam. Consumers receive a counterfeit check and are advised to cash it. Once cashed, consumers are then asked to secretly shop a money transfer business by wiring funds to unknown individuals. Consumers who have been scammed have reported losing as much as $3,060.

BBB warns consumers to be suspicious of anyone that asks you to cash a check and wire these scenarios the check is likely counterfeit and will eventually bounce. The consumer who cashes the check will be held responsible for any money lost in the transaction, plus any additional fees imposed by their bank.

BBB is unable to determine the person(s) responsible for this scam. The name, PineCone Research Panel, belongs to an actual company doing business in Cincinnati, OH. However, PineCone Research Panel of Cincinnati, OH is not affiliated with the person(s) perpetrating this scam and has issued their own notice.

For more information, click here to go to the BBB website.

Please share with us what you know or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. Also, check the comment section below for additional information, if there is any.

Remember to forward malicious or phishing email messages to us at the following email address:

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