After applying for work through an Internet job listing, the woman unwittingly became involved in a “reshipping” scam. It’s not new but it is a scheme that the police department encounters from time to time, said Detective Capt. Ralph Dance, who is encouraging people to beware of such job listings.
She was hired for what she believed was some type of marketing work, but it involved shipping packages that arrived at her home through delivery services such as UPS and FedEx.
“She said she would get boxes and boxes of stuff, and her job was to relabel it and send it to overseas addresses, usually in Nigeria and different countries,” said Dance.
She became suspicious and contacted the police department.
“All of the merchandise purchased was being bought with stolen credit cards and stolen identities all over the U.S.,” said Dance. “These were very large purchases.”
Some of the merchandise she had not sent out has been returned to the respective companies. Dance has a big stack of bicycle tires that he is trying to get back to a company in Ireland.
“These companies won’t send this stuff to Nigeria because they know a lot of it is fraud,” he said. “The perpetrator finds these people that will play the middleman.”
Another pitfall for the victim: Handing over her date of birth and Social Security number during the bogus application process means the scammer can now user her information to open credit cards in her name.
“It hurts everybody,” said Dance. “Somebody’s credit card bought all this stuff.”
The scheme is also one that is perpetrated through dating sites in a variation of the “sweetheart scam.” A prior Corinth victim was a retired school teacher who befriended a man on-line who told her that he lived in Mississippi but was working in Nigeria and asked if she would forward some packages for him.
“From what I understand, they were delivering stuff to her house daily,” said Dance.
And when it comes time to resell it, the perpetrators are making 100 percent profit.
“The bottom line is a job like this that involves getting products and sending them to other countries is most likely a scam,” said Dance.
According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the jobs are often advertised as “merchandising manager” or “package processing assistant.” The victim is usually sent postage-paid mailing labels by e-mail.
The inspection service also warns that a check or postal money order sent to the victim as payment is usually counterfeit.