Re-shipping scam can turn job seekers into unwitting criminals - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Re-shipping scam can turn job seekers into unwitting criminals

A Huntsville woman was being used in a scam involving re-shipped goods bought with stolen credit cards. A Huntsville woman was being used in a scam involving re-shipped goods bought with stolen credit cards.

The Better Business Bureau issued a warning about a scheme that promises you big money by working from home. It could actually land you in trouble with the law for shipping stolen goods.

The BBB calls it the "re-shipping scam," and it is one they warn is growing more common. It typically starts as a job offer on the internet and involves you receiving packages that you will, in turn, send to another location.

The problem is the items inside the boxes are usually stolen.

Paige Wright was surfing the internet looking for a new job when she came across a posting on Craigslist offering her the chance to work from home. "They're saying you are going to get $1,500 a month salary right off the bat," she explained. "If you do a turn-around on a package it's an extra $35. No other paperwork, just kind of an agreement. It had a license number on there; it was legit looking."

She was immediately interested and contacted the company for more information. "The guy called from California and went through it with me. He sent me another email explaining it step-by-step: this is what will happen; don't correspond through email; do everything through this website where you log-in and enter a password," she said.

The posting is no longer on Craigslist, but Paige provided her email correspondence and the agreement they sent her. According to the email, the company's name is International Product Movement, with headquarters in Warsaw, Poland. It says she will act as a courier, receiving, combining and shipping products overseas.

"He explained to me it had to do with the cost, that it costs them more for them to buy directly from these stores than for them to send the products," Paige said. She was beginning to grow suspicious, but she had already provided some of her personal information.

Two packages arrived while we were at her house. Inside were a camera and two Garmin GPS units. She decided to call the Better Business Bureau to see what should do.

"Unfortunately, everything she shared with us is what we describe as a re-shipping scam, and she is being involved, most likely, to transport stolen goods," said the BBB's Michele Mason.

The BBB instructed her to call the police. They filed a report and ran the serial numbers of the items. It turns out at least one of the boxes wasn't filled with stolen goods, but rather, goods that had been purchased with a stolen credit card.

Along with the two GPS units was a packing slip that showed who supposedly placed the order – a man named Ron Tanner, who lives in Hoover. It turns out he did not purchase the items. In fact, he had no idea the charges – amounting to $217.98 – had been racked up on his account.

Tanner immediately canceled his credit card and filed a report with the police.

Meanwhile, Paige decided to tell the International Product company rep she had corresponded with that he would not be receiving his packages after all, saying "You are a thief stealing from hardworking Americans." She also let him know the police, Better Business Bureau, and news media are involved.

He wrote back and said, "You will get sued for robbery. Lame trick."

"It's very frustrating. I am just trying to do better as a single mom and get a job, get back up on me feet again, and this doesn't help," Paige said.

It is currently unclear how the camera in the other box was purchased. It is also unclear if the company in question is a scam, and what legal action can be taken.

Police continue to investigate the case.

The BBB offers some tips about applying for jobs found on the internet. Make sure to check the actual website of the company posting the information to verify it exists. Don't give out too much information until you are hired. Never give out your Social Security Number, and check out the company through the BBB's website.

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