Big Bear, CA, May 21, 2012, 3:00pm – On Friday, May 18th, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station released information about a new scam that was reported locally.  The reporting party received an official-looking letter from a company identifying themselves as Consumer Panel from New York, NY.  The envelope was postmarked out of Canada and contained a survey and computer generated check from the “Finance Center Federal Credit Union” out of Indiana which was made out to the reporting party in the amount of $2,500.00.  The letter was an invitation to participate in a paid survey instructing the consumer to deposit the check into their checking account and keep a portion of the funds.  The consumer was additionally directed to use a portion of the funds to shop at K-Mart and send a Moneygram via Western Union.  The letter notifies the consumer they have 48 hours to complete the survey once the funds are available for withdrawal from their checking account.  The letter also promised that the consumer can keep a portion of the funds and the products purchased at Kmart.  Residents of the Big Bear Valley are advised that this offer is a scam and could lead to identity theft.  Consumers withdrawing funds from these types of fraudulent checks could be held liable for the loss.  If you suspect that you may have been a victim of identity theft, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT or online at