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May 23, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scammers are using counterfeit checks that appear to be from The Ohio State University Medical Center, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The checks are part of a mystery shopper scam, in which consumers receive a letter stating that they have been selected as a "customer service evaluator" and must evaluate their local money transfer service by wiring hundreds of dollars.

"We want to warn consumers that these checks are counterfeit and not valid," said Attorney General DeWine. "Unfortunately scammers often use the names and images of reputable organizations to make their ploys seem legitimate. No matter how real the checks look, consumers should not deposit them or send any money in response."

In the scam, consumers receive a letter from the "Income Booster Mystery Shopper Group," which the letter falsely claims to be a subdivision of The Ohio State University Medical Center. The letter congratulates the consumer on being selected to participate in its mystery shopper program. Enclosed with the letter is a $1,490 check. Consumers are instructed to take $350 of the funds as their salary, to wire transfer $990, and to use the remaining $150 as a shopping fund.

Consumers who deposit the counterfeit check and wire funds will lose money to the scam.

"Remember that if a job opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is," DeWine said. "If you receive a letter about a job you never applied for and a check you weren't expecting, it's almost always a scam."

Consumers should report potential scams to the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515 or