From work at home to finding your mate, find out what scams out there are taking your money and your identity.
There are identity theft scams and then there are identity theft scams within identity theft scams. The “Work from Home” scam, also known as the “Reshipping” scam, is one such scam in which thieves have stolen identities, made fraudulent credit card purchases and then recruit other unknowing victims to share their identity information and do their dirty work.
“Work from Home” notices get a lot of attention as many people desire to work from home to spend more time with their children or to work from home to save gas money or other resources. Working from home is ideal employment opportunity for many but all work from home opportunities are created equally. This scam has used posted “Work from Home” signs as well advertisements on popular on line job search sites such as Monster.com.
Prospective employees are asked for all personal information, including their Social Security Number and date of birth. This doesn’t seem out of the ordinary when applying for employment but unless you “know” the company, always verify a company’s legitimacy before giving them your personal information. You can check on a company through-
â€¢ Local consumer protection agencies
â€¢ Federal Trade Commission
â€¢ Better Business Bureau
â€¢ The state attorney general
The ads often look say they are looking for “merchandise managers” or “package processing assistants.” Duties listed include receiving, packaging and remailing merchandise for clients.
Victims are then “hired” and they immediately begin receiving packages at their residence for repackaging and shipping abroad. Of course, the merchandise has been purchased with stolen credit card information. Soon the “employees” will receive a third party cashier’s check, not a regular paycheck. What’s even better is the check is for too much. How lucky can you get? But here’s the catch. The “company” acknowledges the error, ask you to go ahead and cash the check and get your money and then to electronically forward the extra to a bank account, which is invariably overseas. Of course, once the bank learns the cashier’s check is counterfeit, the victim is now responsible for the total amount. Instead of a landing a new work from home job, they’ve landed in a nightmare. Victims have lost money and participated in the shipment of stolen goods and handed over their personal information to know identity thieves.
Other Versions of the Work from Home Identity Theft Scam
These scammers also look for prey on dating websites. They spend a little time to “get to know you” and may even send a photo or flowers. Then they ask you to help their business or family by shipping packages to Europe or Africa. They may even claim to be working with a charity or as a missionary and ask you to help them get merchandise delivered to Africa or another part of the world.
Of course, this “Sweetheart” is really asking you to commit a crime by smuggling stolen goods. You can be sure that the photo they sent you is fake and what’s worse you’ve given these identity thieves your address and personal information.
Avoiding the Con
*Don’t accept packages for anyone you don’t know personally.
*Check out any potential employer before you give them any personal information.
*Be suspicious of e-mail or chat room sweethearts.
What to do if You’ve Been Conned:
*If you’ve already received merchandise, DO NOT mail it.
*Save all correspondence including paperwork, e-mails or faxes.
*Contact Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455.
Be savvy. Identity thieves are! Companies are constantly looking for ways to eliminate the middleman. Why would a company pay to mail merchandise to you and then pay you to re-mail it? You can be sure crooks will give you a convincing reason but don’t be victimized by scammers who take advantage of your desire to work from home or make a friend on line.