The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), the Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut, and Attorney General William Tong are warning families about work from home scams that may be targeting vulnerable workers during this time.
DCP has received complaints about re-shipping scams since the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Connecticut.
How the scam works
- Those out of work may see online job postings offering an easy work-from-home opportunity:simply re-shipping packages.
- After a quick hiring process (that typically involves divulging personal information), victims begin to receive packages.
- Next, they "inspect" packages, and re-ship them with new shipping labels provided by the company.
- When they inquire about their payment, no one at the “company” they’re working for can be contacted, and they never receive compensation.
Risk of the scam
- Items being shipped or picked up in this scam may have been purchased with stolen credit cards or funds – putting those who have fallen victim to the scam in potential legal trouble. This may include law enforcement visiting their home.
- Those who fall victim to employment scams unknowingly put themselves at risk for several other types of fraud and identity theft, especially if they have provided personal or financial information such as a bank account numbers for payroll.
How to avoid work-from-home scams
- Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If anyone guarantees you employment – and a large amount of money – it’s a scam.
- No legitimate company will ever charge you money to apply for a job or charge you a fee before you start – avoid any company or individual that says it’s a requirement.
- If you do see a job posting, and you’re interested in applying, research the reputation of the company first, and even search the name of the company in conjunction with the words “fraud” or “scam” to see if anyone has reported suspicious activity in the past.
“Unfortunately, during times like this, families need to be more diligent than ever – because scam artists take advantage of us at our most vulnerable,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, “We encourage anyone looking for work to avoid any job offer that sounds too good to be true – or any job listing that promises employment. We know it’s tempting to jump at offers like this during this time – and we appreciate everyone’s patience as our state and country works hard to get everyone back on their feet.”
“With millions of people out of work due to COVID-19, many are searching for quick and easy employment and scammers are taking advantage of that. It’s crucial that you do your homework on a company before you apply and make sure they are legitimate. Also, beware of companies who are quick to hire without even conducting a formal interview.” said Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut’s Associate Director of Communications Luke Frey.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a hit on our economy and employment rate, scammers know that many are looking for new job opportunities in order to ease the financial burden of this public health emergency. Don't let scammers take advantage of your vulnerabilities. Be on the lookout for job postings that advertise an easy work-from-home opportunity like re-shipping packages. Take the time to also research the company to determine that it is legitimate. If any job charges you money or asks you to pay a fee before your start date, it's a scam," said Attorney General Tong.
Unfortunately, this type of scam isn’t new to Connecticut, but may be more prevalent with so many people out of work. DCP and the Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut issued a similar warning last year in March.
If you’ve been targeted by a scam, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience to BBB Scam Tracker.