Consumer Alert: Victims Fall for Fake Business Opportunities
Updated: Wednesday, July 16 2014, 10:51 PM CDT
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Scammers promise big money for little work. Postal inspectors track down a scammer related to a secret shopping ring.
Some Express Mail packages are at the heart of a scam, and the key to unraveling the costly crime.
"We were getting reports that there were large stacks of Express Mail envelopes being dropped in large handfuls in collection boxes," says Karl Hansen, a U.S. Postal Inspector.
Postal inspectors began tracking the suspicious packages and discovered several problems.
"The postage turned out to be one of our online products known as click and ship," says Hansen. "As we dug deeper into it, we found the click and ship postage was purchased using compromised credit cards."
Inside the packages, were letters trying to recruit people into a secret shopper type work-at-home opportunity. The packages contained a money order or check along with instructions. Recipients were encouraged to deposit the check, buy an item, fill out a survey, and send the remaining money back.
"It would usually take them a few days to figure out it was a counterfeit instrument and they would issue a charge back," says Hansen.
Victims would be responsible for the counterfeit check and all money lost. Through post office surveillance and tracking mail patterns, postal inspectors got a break.
"We were able to track it down to one person in particular who was tied to both the mailings and some incoming packages coming from other countries," says Hansen.
Postal inspectors remind customers that while offers to earn extra money might seem attractive, use common sense.
"Think to yourself, "if you were running a business would you be able to afford to pay someone huge amounts of money, you know, $2,000 a day or whatever it is to stuff envelopes?" says Hansen.
If anyone is promising you big bucks for doing practically nothing, it's most likely a scam.