Reshipping scams often start as an employment scam but a new version seems to be targeting users of instant messaging and social media apps and using Bitcoin as the payment method.
With these types of scams, victims usually apply online for an at-home job and then end up receiving and forwarding goods as part of the role, not realising they have been purchased with a stolen credit card.
The scammers then have the victim pay for shipping charges - and then provide reimbursement and payment with a fake cheque. The victims are then also chased up for the cost of the goods from the supplier when the credit card charges are disputed. There is also the chance they may be criminally liable as they have handled the stolen goods.
WA ScamNet recently received a report from a 16 year old boy who was approached through the instant messaging app Wickr. After a conversation about the stranger being able to obtain goods cheaply, the scammer asked the victim to pick up an online purchase from a store in the city.
The victim collected the purchase and was told to sell the jumper, and send the funds through CoinSpot as Bitcoin.
The victim has now been contacted by the store chasing payment as his name, phone number and address were on the online order. He has been told he needs to pay the cost of the jumper otherwise they will call the police, so is facing a potential loss of about $300.
The victim has no idea how the store had his phone number and address as he did not provide this information to the scammers or the store at pickup.
Due to the nature of Wickr, the messages between the victim and the scammer have now been deleted leaving little proof of this exchange and the instructions that were followed.
Tips to avoid employment and reshipping scams:
- Be suspicious of unsolicited 'work from home' opportunities or job offers, particularly those that offer a 'guaranteed income' or require you to pay an upfront fee.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
- Never agree to transfer money for someone else - this is money laundering and it is a criminal offence. Do some digging – a simple online search or phone call may be enough to confirm that a business, company or trading premises does not exist or is being impersonated.
- If you’re asked to pay money upfront to secure a job, whether it’s for training, equipment, transport or accommodation, don’t do it. It’s not normal industry practice and likely a scam.
- In Western Australia employment and recruitment agents must be licensed and are not permitted to charge job seekers for their services. They can only take fees from the employer. For your own protection only use licensed employment agents. You can search for a licensed agent on the Consumer Protection website. Report anyone trying to charge to find you work.
- Guard your personal information including your CV, tax file number and any proof of identity documentation, such as a scan of your passport. This is all the information required for criminals to commit identity theft.