Rip-Off Alert: Work-at-home scam takes new, sophisticated approach

Work at home scam (MGN Online)

Scammers have developed a new twist on the work-from-home schemes that make it harder to detect.

“Gary” said he decided to look for a part-time job he could do from his Minneapolis home to earn a little extra money to support his large family.

“I had my resume out there, and you get approached by these people online that they saw your resume and respond. So I did,” Gary said. “And it looked pretty legit as far as this company is concerned.”

He applied for an online manager job where he would receive packages and then post the items online to sell.

Gary received a percentage of each sale; the rest was wired to his employer.

“It worked pretty well,” he said. “I was thinking I was doing an honest job.”

He thought that until he got a knock at the door from postal inspectors who told him he was using counterfeit postage, which is a federal offense.

“That was a complete shock,” Gary said. “Turns out this company was not paying for the postage in some way or another.”

He sent more than 500 packages over a year span and believed the company was legitimate because of its efficient systems.

“The criminal enterprise is becoming more and more organized and sophisticated to the level where they are actually running websites where these new re-shippers will login into the website and then they will see all of the list of packages that they are expected to be getting in the next day or two days,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Jeff Long.

Most reshipping schemes unravel after a short period of time because victims never receive payment for their work. Gary had been getting paid.

“In 26 years of being an inspector, I have not come across one single instance of a legitimate reshipping case,” Long said. “It doesn't happen.”

Postal inspectors warn consumers considering jobs they have learned about online to do some research. The Better Business Bureau is a place to start to see if there are complaints about a company.

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