FINDLAY, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 6, 2007 -- A sophisticated mystery shopping scam is rapidly spreading across the country and conning consumers out of millions of dollars, according to Corporate Research International (CRI), an Ohio-based mystery shopping and consumer satisfaction firm.

The scam involves letters to consumers offering a mystery shopping job to evaluate one or more leading money wire services. The letter is accompanied by a cashier's check for several thousand dollars with instructions to cash the check at a local bank and then wire the cash to a designated location in Canada. The consumer is directed to keep several hundred dollars as payment for evaluating the service received from the money wire service.

The cashier's check ultimately bounces and the customer is left liable for the funds.

CRI's name, along with those of other legitimate firms, has been fraudulently used in the letters to establish credibility with the unsuspecting recipient.

"It's shocking how complex these schemes have become," said Mike Mallett, CEO of Corporate Research International. "I am obviously concerned that our name is being falsely used in this manner, but I am outraged that innocent consumers are being scammed out of their hard earned dollars."

According to the latest figures from the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, the legitimate mystery shopping industry is estimated at $600 million per year and growing.

"There are many legitimate mystery shopping firms offering valuable services," said Mallett. "But consumers still need to be on the lookout for scams. I tell people that they should never pay to become a mystery shopper and to always remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

CRI posted a warning on the company's Web site and issued an alert to consumer protection agencies. The firm continues to work with local law enforcement as well as the FBI in the investigation. Consumers are urged to contact local officials if they receive one of these scam letters.

About Corporate Research International

Founded in 1989, Corporate Research International specializes in mystery shopping services and interactive customer voice and Web response surveys. The company has built a reputation for tracking trends of quality service and appearance. Corporate Research International was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in 2005 and 2006. For more information visit

Contact Information: Contact: Caroline Cofer Paul Werth Associates (For Corporate Research International) 614-224-8114, ext. 232 Email Contact