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Scam Alert

Recruited to crime: an employment scam
Are you being recruited to commit a crime? If you answer a job posting for at-home work, you may be.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says Americans are being recruited as "reshippers" in various ways -- and end up being unknowing accomplices in a crime.

Here's how the scam works: The scammer places a help-wanted ad at a popular Internet job-search site offering a work-at-home job. Sometimes, the scammer sets up an elaborate, official-looking Web site for the bogus company he claims to represent.

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The victim must fill out an employment application that asks for Social Security number and date of birth. Then the victim is told he got the job.

Packages arrive at the victim's home. He is told to repackage the items and ship them overseas, using his own money which will be repaid. Unbeknownst to the victim, the packages he's receiving were paid for with fraudulent credit cards.

At stage two of the scam, the victim is told he will be paid by cashier's check. But there's a catch. The check will be written for more than the amount the victim is owed. The victim is told to deposit the check and forward the difference to his employer's overseas bank account. Eventually, the victim's bank informs him that the cashier's check bounced -- and he owes the bank the amount of the check.

At stage three, the victim realizes it's a scam and thinks the ordeal is over -- but it's not. The fraudulent employer has the victim's birth date and SSN. He has applied for several credit cards in the victim's name and has been using them to buy merchandise that is being shipped to other unknowing victims of the scam.

The cycle continues and more Americans in search of employment find themselves in worse shape than they were when their job search began.

If you think you may be involved in reshipping fraud, contact the FBI.

Read about more scams.

-- Posted: Jan. 16, 2004



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