With so many people losing their jobs during the pandemic, and now fearful to go back into any office due to COVID-19 concerns, work from home jobs are now more appealing than ever.
While there are many legit work-from-home jobs, there are some that are part of a trendy scam and will end up costing you money or even land you in jail.
Recently laid-off Stacey Pettiford thought he found a job advertised online to make some easy money.
Pettiford got an email from someone claiming to be with the accounting department of the company. That email told Pettiford he would make $2,000 a month, plus an extra $40 bonus for every package he sent on time. His job was just to receive packages, and then reship them back out.
Pettiford agreed to the terms and the packages started arriving daily. He opened every package, and then as instructed took pictures of what's inside.
He kept taking pictures of every item--which ranged from brand new laptops, headphones, car parts, tools, a Garmin watch, even DJ equipment.
Pettiford would then follow the detailed instructions he was emailed which told him to go online and upload the pictures of what arrived. He would then receive a new shipping label to download and repackage the items and ship them back out.
After the month of reshipping packages, it was time to get paid, but when Pettiford tried to log on to the job site, his password was denied.
Pettiford ended up locked out of the system.
He did some research and learned this was all part of a complex scheme known as a reshipping scam. The US Postal Service has warnings on its website describing how it usually involves several crimes, where criminals purchase merchandise with stolen credit cards or gift cards and then lure consumers in unsuspectedly, like Pettiford, to receive the stolen goods and then re-ship them.
Pettiford had no idea he was part of the scheme.
"They just made everything look legit, and I said well this is an easy job," he said. Pettiford has since filed a police report and also put a lock on his credit to prevent scammers from opening credit in his name--since part of the job application included providing personal information that scammers could use.
The best advice to remember is to not accept packages or any mail at your address for people you don't know. If they claim this is a job, it's a scam.