Possible mystery shopper scam with ShopperSystems

Ok, you’re gonna love this one….so make some coffee and enjoy the saga.

My fiance found this ad in a local job listing website for “Mystery Shoppers Needed”.  The ad included a bunch of additional keywords not normally associated with a standard job posting.  This surely improved SEO but didn’t lend a lot of credibility for being a “real” job listing.

Excited at the possiblity of having found a job, my fiance beamed as she relayed the details to me.  For a mere $ 2.95 “testing fee”, she could quickly become qualified to be a mystery shopper in the Indianapolis area.  In fact, she was told there are several jobs available right now !  All that was needed was a credit/debit card to pay for the $ 2.95.

Being the caution one I am, I handed her the smallest debit card I had – maybe $ 100 in the account so no major deal if it’s a scam.

Together we made the call to provide the credit card info.  The answering woman was professional and quickly told my fiance she could make up to $ 50 per mystery shopper job.  Then she immediately wanted to confirm my fiance has a valid credit/debit card.  It sounded pretty scripted to me.
My suspicions were aroused further at the background sounds on the other end of the line – definitely a high volume call center and not the quiet, relaxed office enviroment I expected.  The lady quickly confirmed that no additional charges would be made to the card and proceeded to establish my fiances login information to www.shoppersystems.com.    The really weird part was when we waited on hold no less than 35 minutes for a “4 digit security confirmation for our credit card transaction”.  I’m still not sure what that was all about but eventually a recorded voice came back stating the transaction was approved.  We hung up at that point.

Having listened to the entire experience first hand myself, I didnt have the warm-fuzzy from a place that charges money to accept an application for employment.  Once the call ended I decided to Google this shoppersystems company and see what comes up.  Sure enough, post after post of scam alerts and warnings came up.  According to most of the posts I saw, there’s a $ 49.95 fee that shows up a week or so after the $ 2.95.  Then it becomes very difficult if not impossible to reach someone to cancel/discuss the unknown charge.

Obviously after reading so many other negative experiences and not a single positive one, I called my bank and cancelled the card.  The $ 2.95 charge had already hit the account.  Fortunately the card is now dead and no further monies can be drawn from the account.

Who knows if this was completely legit or not, but I have to stand by the idea that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

We both found it an amazing coincidence that the VERY NEXT DAY my fiance receives a call stating she had won a sweepstakes and wanted to confirm she had a valid debit/credit card.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, we thought the same thing ourselves – SCAM ! 🙂

New AbleCommerce 7 module for external web services

Time to add a new module.  This time it’s a project I finished many months ago for a client.  The client needed a web service that allowed their fullfillment center systems to interface with AbleCommerce 7 via the internet.  The requirements included the ability to pull pending orders, retrieve and set stock quantities as well as post both full and partial shipment information.

The result was a compact but effective ASP.Net web service that provides a secured external interface to the AbleCommerce 7 store data.  By leveraging a very common interface protocol known as SOAP, this module has a broad compatibility base.

The module has been working rock-solid for nearly a year.  So, with the clients permission, I have started reworking the module to be available for sale to the general public.  This will provide excellent external interfacing options for businesses with multiple yet dissimilar eCommerce technologies in place.

My timeline is to have this done in a few days.  First the module has to be “generalized” and any client-specific references removed.  Then I’ll expose some additional web service methods for more store data.  Finally some solid technical documentation will be developed to include with the module.

Overall, it’s nice knowing the hard part is already done – the code is already written and very well tested.


BlogEngine.Net upgrade error – Item has already been added

Well I decided it was time to update BlogEngine.Net given I was still on v1.4.5 and I haven’t been giving the Blog the love it needs.  So tonight I decided to take the plunge and see what it did.

First, the upgrade files DO overwrite the web.config file in the existing blog folder.  Fine if you’re using XML data source but I was using SQL.  So I had to find the Setup folder in the Blog folder and read the instructions on using the SQL-configured web.config file.  Once that was done, it all tied together to my existing blog data.

I did get one error when I tried adding new blog entries “Item has already been added. Key in dictionary: ‘Admin’ Key being added: ‘Admin'”

Wasn’t sure where to begin so I googled it – found some discussion on BlogEngine.Net using ASP.Net security role provider.  That means there are three tables involved in BlogEngine.Net:  be_Users, be_UserRoles and be_Roles.  Duplicate dictionary errors mean the code was assuming every entry read into the dictionary would be unique but there was duplicate.  Sure enough, there was a second “Admin” user record created in the be_Users.  Deleting that record solved the problem.

So, now it’s fixed and I loaded up a new theme just to have the “new” look-and-feel again.  Now it’s time to keep the blog alive a little better than I have in the past 🙂

AbleCommerce 7 Job Scheduler is released

Public release of my AbleCommerce 7 Job Scheduler is finally here ! 

The module is very complex with all automation happening at the server level.  This means that absolutely nothing has to be done from the workstation/client level for the automation to occur.  Basket reminders, automatic order follow-up messages and more.

 Check it all out here: http://www.ablemods.com/AbleCommerce-7-Job-Scheduler-P43C1.aspx