This one is related to the Payment Processing scam. Instead of receiving payments, you receive goods and ship them overseas. The goods are ordered using stolen credit card information, then sold when they reach the criminals.
Sometimes you hear about this scam as a potential work at home job. Other times the criminal befriends you online first, then persuades you to reship goods that he cannot get otherwise.
The common term for the person suckered into this kind of scam is “mule” – basically someone who doesn’t know they’re participating in a crime as they help it be committed.
Now you may be wondering why they need you. The answer is really quite simple: many merchants are too wary and will not ship packages to the countries the criminals live in. So they need your average appearing address to appear legitimate.
It gets worse for many people. Because it’s a job, many think nothing of giving their Social Security Number, date of birth and other personal information. Guess what? You’re now set up for having your identity stolen. They may even ask for your bank account information to transfer funds directly to your account, but use it to commit other kinds of fraud, asking you to wire the extra money to them, and they may even drain your account.
This scam is particularly difficult for law enforcement to track, as the scammers are often completely out of reach. It should be noted, however, that if you become aware that you are participating in such a scam, you need to go to the police IMMEDIATELY. If you continue to participate after you know what the scam is, you can be prosecuted.
If You Get Scammed
First, try to clear it up with the company. If they are uncooperative, let them know that you will be contacting officials about the matter. Then do it.
- If you found out about the company on a website, let the site know so that they can take it off their site.
- Contact the Attorney General in your state or the state the company is in.
- Contact the BBB, both your local office and in the company’s state.
- Contact the National Fraud Information Center if this was a “get rich quick” or “easy money” scheme.
- Your local Consumer Protection Offices.
- The Postmaster if you received the offer in the mail.
- The Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has a Complaint Assistant website to help you file your complaint.