Please note that there is currently a scam involving Pinecone Research. I first heard about it from Debbie on the Kosher on a Budget Facebook group.
I received a letter and an email, actually the letter also had a check in it. They want me to do store evals? The check is for a pretty big sum, they want me to cash it and wire it through Western Union to a specific person.
This obviously sounded like a huge bunch of red flags, so I went straight to the Pinecone Research site, where I found a link to this 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 “firstname.lastname@example.org” — 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) “econsumer.gov” reporting system (https://econsumer.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/) in the United States or the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (http://www.phonebusters.com/) in Canada.
If you get a check or money order in the mail from Pinecone (or from anyone you weren’t expecting a check from) do NOT cash it. Report it to the FTC immediately.
Pinecone Research is a totally legitimate survey site – and one of my absolute favorites. I’m sorry to see that Pinecone is unwittingly involved in this mess.