IBM’s mail scanner panel – a scam

A few months ago I was recruited to help the U.S. Post Office become more efficient by participating in a mail scanner panel run by IBM under contract to the USPS. They sent me a handheld scanner that reads Intelligent Mail Barcodes. The reporting website is I was promised to get reward points issued by IBM to be redeemed at I dutifully brought in the mail and scanned every piece every day for over two months. It was more tedious and time-consuming than I expected. They inisist that you not miss a day or report mail a day late, so no vacations or getting sick except on Sunday.

The promised points never appeared in my reportezrewards account. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was expecting something. It was never made clear what value the points had. I wanted to see what I would receive for my work in order to decide whether it was worth the hassle, but until the points appeared in my account I couldn’t know. I got peeved and complained to IBM who told me to complain to reportezrewards,com, which is actually run by a company called I called and emailed them. They replied that it wasn’t their fault, it was IBM’s and to call IBM. After several frustrating go arounds, IBM finally acknowledged that my points were not accumulating like they should. They had no explanation why; it seems that no one at IBM knows much about computers. Rather than just put the points in my account, they said they would have to start me all over with a new reporter ID and new rewards account and they’d put the points in there. They told me I would get a new ID via email but I could continue to use the scanner I had. So of course after telling me I would not get a new scanner, they sent me a new scanner which I then had to take to a UPS station to mail back to them. And you thought the post office was inefficient? I registered at reportezrewards once again with the new ID and finally got those points. Thirteen points, to be exact, for what was by this time three months work.

So finally I could find out how much I was making. I went to the “spend rewards” page and found that my points were worth – $13. For three months work. I’ve heard of minimum wage but this is a new low. Not only that, they won’t send you cash. You have to spend it at approved vendors like Macy’s or Verizon. I ask you, what can you buy at Macy’s or Verizon for $13? Well, the only vendor I found that might have something costing as little as $13 was a music site so decided to get a CD. I found the CD I wanted there and tried to buy it, but I got a message that they were out of stock and sent me over to Amazon to buy it. Of course, Amazon does not accept reward points. So then I looked through what they claimed they did have on the approved vendor site and found an mp3 song that seemed fun. It was only 99 cents. Okay, so I go to buy it and it wants a credit card. I keep looking for an icon or link to use the reward points, but there is none. The reportezrewards logo is right on the product page, but nowhere to be seen on the payment page. i go back to the rewards page and read through the detailed instructions. They said to click on the reward points icon that appears right next to the credit card images. Only there is no such icon next to those credit card images. I give up and email for help. I wait two days and get a reply to call them for help. Gee thanks. That’s very helpful. So I call the listed phone number. It goes to a phone tree. The very first choice is to press one if you are having trouble spending your reward points. That tells you something. I pressed one. It rings forever then puts you on voice mail. I asked someone to call me back. No one does that day so I do the same thing the next day, calling early to avoid the crowded midday, but get voice mail again. Same thing that day. I try one more time. One email and three calls and I got zero help and nothing for my three months of work.

The light bulb finally went off. The whole thing was a scam and I fell for it. The truth is it’s like one of those carnival games. you think you can win something, but of course you can’t. The game is rigged. If you are recruited for it, don’t fall for it. I got zilch and you will, too.

However, you can get something worthwhile – one of my Cliff Knowles Mysteries – by clicking on the top menu link My Books above. Thanks for reading my blog.