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  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , job scam, , ,   

    Secret shopper scam seeks more targets 

    Secret shopper scam seeks more targets

    By Greg Collier

    In yesterday’s post, we discussed a job scam that seemed to be picking up in activity during the holiday season, that was the reshipping scam. Now, it’s being reported that in some parts of the country that another old job scam is ramping up during the holidays, and that is the secret shopper scam.

    Secret shopper is actually a real position with many major brick and mortar retailers. They’re employed by the retailers to go to the various store locations and rate the performance of the store and its employees. However, it’s not as common a position that the scammers would have you believe. Scammers post ads for secret shopper positions year round, but like most scammers, they’re really looking to target those looking to add to their holiday income.

    The Charlotte, North Carolina area has reported an uptick in secret shopper scams. Residents there have been responding to the ads for secret shoppers, only to realize it’s a scam. Victims are being sent checks for thousands of dollars and are told to deposit the check into their bank accounts. They are then instructed to keep $300 for themselves and $50 for gas. The rest of the money is supposed to be used to buy Walmart gift cards to supposedly rate Walmart’s service. The victim is supposed to give the numbers from the gift card to their supposed employer.

    The problem with this scam is that the checks are fake. By the time the victim’s bank realizes the check is fraudulent, the scammers have already made off with the money that was put on the gift cards. This leaves the victim holding the bag when it comes to reimbursing the bank for the amount of the phony check.

    No legitimate employer will ever ask you to deposit funds that are supposed to be used for business into your account. If they do, that’s a good indication that the check is fraudulent. Another red flag is almost anything to do with gift cards. Unless they’re being used as an actual gift, gift card numbers should never be given to anyone over the phone.

    If you really want to find a legitimate secret shopper position, your best bet is to check with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association at their website.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: job scam, , , ,   

    Job scam back in time for Christmas 

    Job scam back in time for Christmas

    By Greg Collier

    Every year during the holiday season, many people look to take on a second job to help supplement their income to make the holidays more enjoyable for their families. Unfortunately, scammers are also looking to increase their income but at the expense of others. The scammers do this by offering easy jobs that can be done at home that are either costly, dangerous, or downright illegal.

    One job scam that seems to always pick up steam during the holidays is the reshipping or repackaging scam. In the reshipping scam, victims looking for work are offered a job that usually has a title like ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse distribution coordinator, or ‘local hub inspector’. The victim is asked to ‘inspect’ packages that are sent to their home before repackaging the items and sending them to a third party. During this time of year, the positions may also be listed as gift wrapper. Recently, in Michigan, a woman was offered a reshipping position where the scammers said they ship items to people in countries where Amazon isn’t available.

    The problem with these items is that they’re often purchased with stolen credit card information and shipped overseas before the cardholder is aware. This scam is essentially a form of money laundering, and the unwitting reshippers are known as money mules.

    There are usually two outcomes for victims of this scam. The first is that they reship all these packages and never get paid. The second is that they could possibly end up in jail. Even victims of the reshipping scam can find themselves in trouble with the law if the victim knowingly falsifies shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs.

    Fake jobs like this often hire people on the spot and only communicate by email. One noteworthy job site has even listed on their site that there are no legitimate jobs that involve receiving packages and shipping them to someone else from your home.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , job scam, , Zipcar   

    Rental car company’s name used in scam 

    Rental car company's name used in scam

    By Greg Collier

    Many of you might not have heard of Zipcar. They’re kind of like an Uber for rental cars. Instead of the cars being owned by a rental company, they’re owned by private citizens looking to make a little money by renting their car out through Zipcar. Zipcar is also owned by car rental giant AVIS. So, at least on the surface, they seem like a mostly reliable company. Of course, if you’re a reliable company, someone will use your name to try to scam people. We’ve seen such scams with companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Uber, so I guess it’s Zipcar’s turn now. In the interest of transparency, this is not an endorsement of Zipcar, and Zipcar had nothing to do with the actual scam.

    A man from Norfolk, Virginia, received a random text message that appeared to come from Zipcar. The text said the man could make hundreds of dollars just for driving his car around with a Zipcar decal on it. The man caught on to the scam quick when he clicked on the link in the text, and it went nowhere. Never click on those links, by the way. The report we’ve read doesn’t go into details, but the man received an email from a fake Zipcar representative.

    The man wanted to see how far the scam would go, so he responded claiming he was interested in the promotion. Not too long after that, he received a ‘welcome package’ in the mail. The package contained a Zipcar sticker, a letter, and a cashier’s check for $2,980. Of course, the check was a fake and the man did not deposit it.

    This is very similar to the car wrapping scam, where victims will be asked to wrap their whole car in some kind of advertisement. The victim will be sent the usual fake check and will be asked to deposit the check in their bank account. The victim will then be asked to take some of the money as their payment and used the rest to either buy ‘supplies’ from a vendor working with the scammer, or the victim will be asked to send the money to some third party as part of ‘business expenses’. When the victim’s bank finds out the check is fraudulent, it’s the victim that’s held responsible for that money.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, the Zipcar scam has been finding victims all over the country and fleecing them of thousands of dollars. As with most scams, you should ignore any unsolicited texts promising you money. Not only that, but real companies, especially as one as large as AVIS, will never ask you to deposit company funds in your own checking account. If any employer does, you can almost guarantee that the check is a fake.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: job scam, , , ,   

    Scam victim gets bullets in the mail 

    Scam victim gets bullets in the mail

    By Greg Collier

    From its name, the average person would assume that the reshipping scam isn’t that dangerous, but it’s actually one of the more risky scams. In the reshipping scam, victims looking to work from home are offered a job that usually has a title like ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse distribution coordinator, or ‘local hub inspector’. The victim is asked to ‘inspect’ packages that are sent to their home before repackaging the items and sending them to a third party. The items themselves are often purchased with a stolen credit card, but since they were delivered to a victim’s home, that’s where investigators may start looking for whoever stole the credit card to begin with.

    One woman from Kentucky fell for this scam, but something she received made her realize something wasn’t right. She applied for the position of a quality inspector on a well-known job board, as scammers will often advertise these phony positions so they appear legitimate. The woman was shipping packages from her home with her home address as the return address. She didn’t think anything of it until she received a box of ammunition at her home and was asked to ship it somewhere else. It’s illegal to ship ammunition through the US Postal Service, and shipping services like UPS and FedEx require a number of precautions before shipping ammunition. It is also illegal to ship ammunition from the United States to another country. Reshipping scammers often have their victims send the items to other countries.

    What’s really scary about the reshipping scam is that even victims can be arrested. If the victim in this instance had reshipped the ammunition, and it was stopped by customs or postal inspectors, she would have almost definitely been arrested. However, that’s not the part that gets some reshipping scam victims arrested. If a victim knowingly falsifies shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs, they could potentially face a prison sentence.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , job scam, ,   

    Companies are being scammed by phony freelancers 

    Companies are being scammed by phony freelancers

    By Greg Collier

    If your company has a crucial but temporary role that needs to be filled, many employers will turn to freelancers to fulfil that need. With the way’s today’s demand economy is, many of these freelancers advertise their services on a platform like Upwork. Outlets like Upwork allow companies to review and compare the work and rates of freelancers before signing them on. Unfortunately, Upwork and other freelancer marketplaces are not immune to scams. In a previous scam, scammers were posing as employers and sending fraudulent checks to freelancers. Now, at least one scam is targeting the employers.

    The Better Business Bureau is stating that they’ve seen an uptick in phony freelancers on Upwork and other platforms. The scammers are essentially stealing the online identities of actual freelancers and posing as them. Much like in many scams, the scammers are said to be offering rates that are just too good to pass up. The scammers are asking for a deposit up front and then disappearing with the employer’s money.

    The BBB Is recommending that employers shouldn’t be lured in by freelancer rates that are too good to be true because they often are. It’s also recommended that employers have a video conference with the freelancer before hiring them to make sure they are who they say they are. Another suggestion is to look the freelancer up on a professional site like LinkedIn and do a web search for their personal portfolio.

    However, you should be careful when communicating with the freelancer and not to do it outside of Upwork before hiring them. Past scammers have tricked freelancers by communicating with them outside of Upwork’s virtual walls. Scammers and other cyber-criminals often try to communicate with their victims outside of usual channels.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , job scam, ,   

    New job scam steals your identity 

    New job scam steals your identity

    By Greg Collier

    With so many job scams out there, it’s often hard to discern between a legitimate job offering and a scam. More often than not, there is usually a red flag somewhere along the line in the application process. For example, if you’re asked by the potential employer to pay for things like application fees or background checks, that’s a good indicator that the job could be a scam. Even if you get hired, there can still be red flags, such as being asked to deposit a check used for business expenses into your own bank account. But what if scammers were able to mimic a legitimate company while offering a phony position. According to the Better Business Bureau, that’s exactly what is happening.

    A woman in Rhode Island received an email that said she was eligible for a position after the company found her information on a state employment website. She was asked to reply to the email if she was interested in the position. The email appeared to come from a legitimate company in the region and even used the name of an actual company employee. The victim interviewed for the job. The report doesn’t say how she was interviewed, but it’s probably safe to assume it was a virtual interview.

    The scammers sent her a bunch of normal-looking paperwork to fill out and instructed her to verify her identity at a legitimate web portal used by many employers. After she signed in to the portal and gave all her pertinent information, she received a notification that her information was being sent to the California unemployment office. Essentially, the scammers stole her identity out from under her to apply for unemployment benefits in her name.

    If you’re unsure if a job offer is legitimate or not, check the email address the offer was sent from. If the email is from a free service like Gmail or Outlook.com, there’s a good chance the offer may not be real, as most legitimate employers have their own corporate email addresses. You can also go to the company’s website to see if the position you’re being offered is even open.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , job scam, , military family, ,   

    Military families are often targets of scammers 

    Military families are often targets of scammers

    By Greg Collier

    When we think of scamming victims, we often think of the elderly without a lot of online knowledge or maybe young people with not a lot of real-world experience. Who we may not think of is the immediate family of military members, specifically their spouses. While our men and women of the armed forces are being deployed, it’s up to their spouses to keep everything running as smoothly as possible on the home front. This is made even more difficult if the family has any children. Because a military spouse may be spending a lot of time at home without their partner, it could leave them vulnerable to various scammers.

    For example, the wife of a deployed soldier in Alaska recently found herself the victim of a work at home scam. She was looking to earn extra income for the family and looked online for a position that would allow her to stay home with her children. She found a position in a local Facebook group that ticked all the right boxes. It was an online work from home job that started at $15/hr where you could set your own hours and work would be available for 45 hours a week. After training, the salary would be increased to $20/hr.

    The victim was then sent a check, so she could order supplies. She was given a list of supplies to order and where to order them from. She was told to deposit the check in her own account and when she voiced her concerns about that she was told that this was standard practice.

    The check turned out to be fraudulent after she had spent the money. The family’s bank account was then locked, and now the family finds themselves in $15,000 debt to the bank.

    Please keep in mind that no legitimate employer will ever ask you to deposit company funds into your own bank account. Real employers have accounting and purchasing departments to handle such transactions. If an online employer asks you to deposit a check for business purposes, it’s almost guaranteed that the check is fake.

    This is only one of many scams that military families are vulnerable to. A good rule of thumb not just for military families but for all of us is not to send or receive money from anyone you don’t know.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , job scam, pet sitting, , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Pet sitting, Bitcoin, and Magazines 

    By Greg Collier

    Today, we’re bringing you another trio of scams that warrant your attention. This week, we have three scams that variants of other scams we’ve discussed.

    If you’re in college, or have a child in college, the Better Business Bureau is warning about a particular job scam. It appears that in both Florida and New York, college students are being offered part -time pet-sitting jobs for a pretty good wage. However, this is just a ruse to send the college student a fake check as payment. The students will be told to deposit the check, purchase some supplies, and return a portion of the check. While the bank will honor the deposit at first, they will eventually determine it’s fake and put the financial burden on the student since they were the one that deposited the check.


    In Northern Ohio, authorities there are reporting victims there are falling for a Bitcoin scam, but it’s more like the police impersonation scam. The scammers are posing as federal investigators who tell the victims that someone in Texas near the Mexican border has rented a car in the victim’s name and a large cache of illegal drugs were found in the car. In order to avoid arrest, the victim is told to pay a substantial amount of money. Previously, the scammers would have victims mail cash or buy gift cards. In this case, the scammers are instructing victims to make payments through Bitcoin ATMs, which we’ve previously discussed here. No law enforcement agency is ever going to threaten you with arrest if you don’t make a payment in cryptocurrency or other untraceable means of payment like gift cards.


    Lastly, in Rhode Island, an alert FedEx clerk saved a man from falling for a scam that could have cost the victim thousands of dollars. When the clerk asked about the man’s shipment, the man claimed it had $500 worth of old magazines in it. The clerk was suspicious and was worried that the man was being scammed. With a manager’s approval, the clerk opened the package and there was $15,000 worth of cash inside. While the news report doesn’t say what kind of scam the man had almost fallen for, the man said that he was promised a bigger payout if he mailed the cash. This sounds an awful lot like an advanced fee scam or sweepstakes scam where that victim was told to send cash intertwined in the pages of magazines. Remember, that you don’t have to pay any fees for a prize like that. Taxes for such prizes are usually figured out later.


    Hopefully, these scams don’t come to your area, but now you’ll be prepared if they do.

  • Geebo 8:06 am on July 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , job scam, , ,   

    Secret Shopper scam tries to streamline 

    By Greg Collier

    Secret Shopper scams are back again. To be honest, they never really go away, but if the scammers were to be believed there would be more secret shoppers than actual shoppers.

    Being a secret shopper is an actual job. Many retailers hire secret shoppers to go to their various stores and review the shopping and customer service experience. It’s a job that’s been around for decades, too. When I was in my late teens, I was working a retail job and was admonished by my manager because a secret shopper caught me not wearing my name tag. You better believe I wore my name tag from then on.

    The secret shopper position has long been a favorite tool of scammers. In this latest case reported by the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa, scammers are emailing victims telling them that they’ve already been approved to be a secret shopper. If a victim responds to the email, they’re then told that they need to review a money wire transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union. The victims are then sent a phony check. They’re instructed to deposit the check in their bank account. Then the victim is told to use the wire transfer service to transfer most of the money back to their boss and are told to keep part of the check as payment. Since the check is fraudulent, the victim who deposited it in their bank account is responsible for the check’s amount and any fees to their bank. Yet, the scammers have made off with the majority of the value of the check.

    This is the most streamlined version of this scam we’ve seen in quite some time. Typically, scammers will send you the fake check, have you deposit it, have you buy some items at whatever store they’re imitating, then have you send back the difference. This version of the scam goes right to the heart of the matter and has victims just essentially send the scammers money.

    As we have stated, secret shopper is an actual paying job. However, no company is going to email you out of the blue to tell you that you’ve been chosen. The position is actually a lot more rare than the scammers make it out to be. That’s not even taking into consideration that no real employer will ask you to deposit a check in your own bank account before spending it. And any time money transfer services or gift cards are involved, you can assume that everything about the job is a scam.

    If you want to actually become a secret shopper, you can check with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association at their website.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: job scam, , , , ,   

    Disadvantaged state taken advantage of by scam 

    Disadvantaged state taken advantage of by scam

    By Greg Collier

    West Virginia is a state that’s been dealing with an unemployment problem since long before the pandemic. Some of its residents could be forgiven for falling prey to a scam that promises not only easy money but a work from home position as well. When someone is desperate enough for a paycheck, they’re more likely to overlook red flags that they may otherwise notice.

    The Better Business Bureau of West Virginia has received several complaints about a company that was allegedly hiring people for a work from home reshipping position. Applicants received items in the mail and were told to take pictures if the items before shipping them off to another address. The employees were told to log into the company’s dashboard to print off the new shipping labels. People received and reshipped things from antique coins to fully assembled computers.

    After about a month went by the employees were locked out of the dashboard and the company cut off all communication with them. None of the people who complained to the BBB were ever paid.

    We’re confident that many of you have already figured out that these people have unfortunately been the victims of the reshipping or repackaging scam. These positions are often advertised online with such titles as ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse distribution coordinator, or ‘local hub inspector’. The goods that are reshipped are usually bought with stolen credit card information while the scam victims are used as middlemen to ship the goods to third-parties overseas. This is done in an attempt to obfuscate the package’s real destination.

    These victims are little luckier than most. In many cases, the scammers will pay their victims in fraudulent checks which end up costing the victim money. The only thing stolen from these victims so far has been their time. However, there is also a potential for identity theft as the victims also filled out tax forms to the phony employer.

    The reshipping scam is especially dangerous to the victim because it could cause them trouble with the law. Even if you’re a victim of the scam, but you knowingly addressed a package to avoid customs inspections you could find yourself in hot water.

    As with any employment position, it’s worth researching your potential employer as this one used the address of a vacant warehouse in West Virginia.

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