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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Secret Shopper Scam Warning

Beware of the Scam:

Someone on LinkedIn gave my information to someone to become a mystery shopper. They said it was easy and legitimate. I thought, why not? Easy. Quick money. and can supplement the home improvement projects. I'm close to a store. But it's hard to tell who is a sam or not.


The scammer in my case was:  Benjamin Hartfold of the SM RESEARCH GROUP  (Probably onto the next name now).

Phone number: 253-642-3708 (probably deactivated now... but you never know.)

Email address: sm-researchinc@outlook.com

The check for $2955 he sent:


They send you an assignment with a check. You deposit it and funds become available immediately. The assignment is to buy gift cards to assess a local Apple store. They want you to fill out a form on customer service and store cleanliness, etc. They also want you to scratch the gift card strip on the back, and send photos of everything via email. They will schedule a pick up time for the cards, and complete this action before your bank gets the returned check. You think you made $300 for less than an hour of effort. But when the bank takes the funds from your account, you'll be out $2900. 

How to Protect Yourself: 

I called Mid-American credit union and simply gave them the check number. They will tell you immediately if it's fraudulent. Which this was. 

Whenever someone provides you a check... call the bank. That is the best way to determine if it's legitimate.

Nobody will ever send a blank cashier's check in the mail.

If someone calls and needs money via gift cards... don't do it. 

The sad thing is that these types of people are scamming people daily. My Mom got a "High grandma, I just got in a car accident, can you send me money" call. What's a Grandma to do?  But they too wanted money cards. Unfortunately there are too many people out there doing this, that the police don't have time to track them. This is my second event that I tried to catch. But, due to timing, I was unable to finish scamming my scammers to put them in jail. That is also not recommended, because there are too many crazies in this world. Best to just ignore them. 

This is a warning to be careful! 

Also... in the event that Benjamin Hartford
did not change his number...

I think it would be incredible 
if everyone who reads this
to send him a text message... 
253-642-3708

The message will be your option!
Be Safe!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 




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