Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CCSO Issues ‘Re-shipping’ Scam Alert

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is cautioning residents about a re-shipping scam circulating via the Internet.

Over the past few weeks, CCSO has become aware of unwitting citizens being recruited for this scam, which is a mixture of credit card fraud, identity theft, auction fraud, Internet fraud, and bank fraud.

The scam targets mostly job-seekers and online chat site guests. For job-seekers, the applicant believes that he or she will be responsible for forwarding, or re-shipping, merchandise that was purchased in the United States to the company’s overseas home office. Soon after employment begins, the packages arrive, along with shipping labels to the correct destination. All the employee has to do is take the package(s) to a shipping store and send off. Unbeknownst to the employee, the items in the package had been purchased with fraudulent or stolen credit cards.

Another form of this scam is when a job-seeker is recruited as a payroll coordinator or similar position. The unwitting recruit’s job function would be to receive a lump sum of money and then wire or send payroll to various persons provided by the employer. The unwitting employee may be held responsible for the loss the financial institutions suffer, as this scam involves stolen or ill-gotten gains as well.

Recruits are at a higher risk for identity theft, since they usually provide the con artists with their banking and other personal information when applying for the job.

For online chatters, the scam artists will target someone for friendship or love. The new friend will make up an excuse as to why he or she cannot have packages shipped directly to him or her and persuade the unwitting friend to forward the packages overseas. Once the victimized merchants realize the scam, the unwitting re-shipper is contacted and the plot unravels.

If you believe you may have fallen victim to this type of scam and wish to report it, contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239.252.9300. You may also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at: http://www.ic3.gov/