Working at home sounds very appealing. No commute and you get to work in your pajamas. What could be more convenient than that? Years ago, stuffing envelopes was a common work at home scam. That scam has been updated by other scammers to offers of being paid to read emails, but it remains a scam. The range of work at home scams is constantly changing and evolving, but the result is always the same – rarely are these work at home schemes legitimate nor do they provide any income except for the scammers who operate them. Often the advertisements for these work at home scams appear in legitimate media that have not checked out the legitimacy of the advertisements they run.
Recently there has been an upsurge in a work at home scam that actually makes you an accomplice to a crime. Your job is to receive goods, often electronics that have been shipped to you, inspect them and then reship them to an address provided to you by your new employer. The problem is that these goods have been purchased with stolen credit cards and you have just become an accomplice to the crime when you ship them to someone else who will then sell them to turn the merchandise into cash. The term scammers use to describe the people doing the reshipping is a “mule” and it can get you into a lot of trouble. The companies offering this type of work may seem legitimate, but they are not.
Recently in Montana, Brad Helding became a victim of a work at home scam when he was contacted by a company that identified itself as Delta Express Couriers after posting his resume on some employment websites. He was told that he would be paid to shop for phones, laptops and other electronic equipment that he would then package and reship. He was sent a $2,000 check by the company, bought iPhones and shipped them as directed. He was then told for his purchases to use his own credit card and that he would be reimbursed by the company. Unfortunately for Mr. Helding, it was all a scam, the original check bounced and he ended up losing $35,000 to the scammers who were sent the iPhones and other electronics that they could readily turn into cash without a trace. While Delta Express Couriers at one time was a real company, it had gone out of business several years ago and their name had just been used by the scammers.
As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Check out work at home scams with the big three – your local attorney general, the Better Business Bureau and the FTC. And as always, you can Google the name of the particular company offering you the work at home program with the word “scam” next to it and see what turns up. As for reshipping scams, they are always a scam and you should steer clear of them.Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on provisional credit which is given after a few days, but which will be rescinded once a check bounces.
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