Work-from-home reshipping scheme carried out by fake business in Plymouth
PLYMOUTH, Ind. (WNDU) - A work-from-home opportunity that seems almost too good to be true turned out to be just that.
The Better Business Bureau calls it an employment and reshipping scam. They tell us the fake company at the center of the scheme claims to be headquartered in the Hoosier state.
“A couple of the companies that we’ve found that are doing this are using fake addresses within the state of Indiana. so the first one is Golden Logistics Worldwide LLC and the second one is Cargoship Cargogroup Logistics LLC,” explains Jan Diaz, the Vice President for the BBB serving Northern Indiana.
16 News Now Investigates tracked down the address the fake company “Cargoship” was using, and found it was the former Del Monte plant in Plymouth. Though the scammers aren’t actually at that location, it doesn’t stop them from using the address to look legitimate to job seekers.
“What really sold me on this though was the fact that I talked to literally six different people. So there was an HR department, so that made it seem legit, there was a manager, I had two supervisors or maybe three,” a victim of the scam says.
The scam works like this… the company calls someone who is looking for work from home positions on sites like Indeed.com.
“80% of the employment scams that we’re hearing about through our BBB scam tracker, basically they all have the same common thread-- contact is initiated by the scammers,” says Jan Diaz.
After a brief phone interview, the scammer says ‘you’re hired’.
“I was like, ‘oh great’, I was so excited,” says a victim of the scam. “I didn’t know about these reshipment scams. You know, it’s not something you think about.”
Like any real job, the scammers have their employees fill out paperwork.
“I signed the W9. So now they have all of my information-- my bank info, my social, my name, my driver’s license, everything,” says the scam victim.
The scammers even go as far as providing training for the fake job.
“They sent me detailed videos about how the business works and what would go on,” the scam victim explains.
The work seems simple.
“I would be getting packages sent to me and just kind of like, scanning over it, making sure everything was correct and nothing was damaged… Resealing it and printing out a new shipment label and sending it to someone else,” says someone who was targeted by the scam.
According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, these packages often contain merchandise bought with stolen credit cards or counterfeit money orders.
“They think they’re working and they’re doing their job but really they’re doing something that’s illegal,” says Diaz.
It’s something a scam victim that shared her story with 16 News Now Investigates learned the hard way.
“They’re using stolen credit cards to buy these items, send it to people like me not knowing that it’s absolutely illegal and we’re doing something wrong,” she explains. “It’s a horrible, horrible scam. and a lot of people are falling for it. and it’s not that they’re dumb or I’m dumb, it’s that they got very crafty at it.”
When it gets time for the fake company to issue a paycheck, or if a worker gets suspicious, the scammers vanish.
“Nobody would answer my calls. my manager wouldn’t answer, supervisor wouldn’t answer, HR wouldn’t answer,” says the scam victim.
The BBB serving Northern Indiana says this is often how scammers operate once they’ve been found out.
“The employer has taken the website down, they’ve changed their phone number-- they’re nowhere to be found,” says Diaz.
That means no pay for work that turned out to be illegal, and on top of it, those behind the scheme now have your personal information.
The best way to avoid this scam is to do some digging before agreeing to work, because many of these fake companies seem like the real deal.
“They’re professional sounding when you get them on the phone. They are good actors, they call tell you all about this fake company, they can tell you that they have so many employees and they can even tell you who the employees names are,” says Jan Diaz with the BBB.
“They’re very good at it and they’re not going to stop,” says a victim of the scam. “They’re going to keep evolving, you know, and get better at it. We just have to be a little smarter and more vigilant and just do the research.”
16 Investigates reached out to Indeed.com to ask if they do any screenings on those posting jobs on their site. They sent us this statement:
“Indeed puts job seekers at the heart of everything we do. We have a dedicated search quality team who goes to extraordinary lengths deploying a variety of techniques to assess the suitability and validity of job listings. Indeed removes tens of millions of job listings each month that do not meet our quality guidelines. In addition, Indeed will not do business with an employer if their job listings do not pass our stringent quality guidelines. We encourage job seekers to report any suspicious job advertisements to us, or if they feel it necessary, to make a report to the police. We encourage all job seekers to review our Guidelines for a Safe Job Search.”
The best way to know for sure if the employer could be a scammer is to go to BBB.org/scamtracker and search for the business name.
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