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“I felt like a fool:” Woman involved in intricate scam after answering online job post

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HOUSTON, Tx. (WITI) — You're looking for a job online and the next thing you know, postal inspectors are knocking at your door. It's a scary situation and it doesn't take much for it to happen.

"I answered an online ad for mystery shoppers," explained fraud victim Susan Victoria.

Susan thought it sounded like a good idea. There was no experience required and she would be paid to shop. Within days, she received an envelope with a shopping survey, checks and instructions.

"Deposit two checks into my account and send him the money by wire transfer," described Susan.

She kept $150 and sent the rest back. Susan was then asked to do more — stuff hundreds of envelopes with the same mystery shopper letter and money orders that were counterfeit, unbeknownst to her.

"He would send me a list with names on it. I would put that name on the money order," Susan said.

She would then send the envelope with money orders inside. Once she did, she ended up being part of a fraudulent reshipping scheme.

"We have so many unsuspecting individuals who are just innocently seeking employment and finding themselves caught in some sort of scam," said U.S. Postal Inspector Victoria Kimbro.

Postal inspectors began tracking the numerous packages and realized they were all being sent overseas.

"I felt like a fool that I didn't catch on sooner," Susan said.

People would deposit these bogus money orders and send money to con-men — only to learn days later the money orders were counterfeit. Susan now realizes that she played a role in people losing money and it is a heavy burden.

"I feel bad for those people…that I've been a part of a scam and I feel responsible for that," Susan said.

A warning — closely scrutinize online job offers.

"You must think, 'why would someone send you something to be sent to an address outside the country?'" Postal Inspector Kimbro said.

Susan says inspectors took her computer, e-mails and files she had about the job and hopes it will help shut the scam down.

"Hopefully, what I gave them will help them catch the guy. I hope it does. I really hope they do," Susan said.

It's a reminder to always do your research about job opportunities found online. You can find out more about a company by searching online or checking with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complaints.

7 comments

  • Mike

    Really, don’t people have any common sense anymore. Susan thought it sounded like a good idea. There was no experience required and she would be paid to shop. Unbelievable. Ok I can see if your elderly and not very internet savvy but come on. If it sounds to good to be true then it most like is. A little due diligence in checking for fraudulent schemes while you were searching for jobs on the internet when have done you a world of good. We are now constantly informed of these schemes through the media. If your too stupid or lazy to do a little research first then it your own darned fault!

  • Laurie Czerwinski

    I was the victim of those very same people!…I think so, because I was looking for a babysitting job Online; Of all things, it was connected to “Care.com”. I received a phone call on my cell phone (I had put this in my application for a babysitting job); The woman on the phone said “her friend” needs someone to babysit her child”. I said she should text or call me. This next woman texted me over ten times afterward…she said her little one was a three year old boy, ‘said his name was Desmond (she did slip up and call him another name within the next phone calls …a CLUE that it might be false!) and, since she is moving here to my area in WISCONSIN that would it be okay if I helped her purchase a few items the night before she and her husband and child arrive here from AUSTRALIA! I said,” yes, I guess so…”The next text AND email was the criminal part..she said that when she sends me a check (AND, she or/ they did…sent via FEDEX for over $2,000.00! There wasn’t even an hour between the fedex envelope arriving and her next text (usually she would text at night)..and, she said, “Now, I want you to go to your bank and cash the check and, take $300.00 for yourself as an “advance”; Then, (here’s the part) take the rest of the money and go to either CV pharmacy or Walgreens and purchase a “money-pack”..”then, text me with the numbers…”I called CV pharmacy and asked what all that was…and the manager told me “watch out, I’ve seen this scam before! A man still wanted to go for it, it was a business venture..and LOST about $5,000.00..”And, that’s how the store knew. I was really mad! I filed a complaint with the government and told all of the banks and police departments about how I turned down another summer job, waiting for this higher-paying babysitting job! The police informed me that unfortunately, there is a great /good number of these hackers and email frauds..One day I bet they will get a pattern and go and arrest them and, all of their years in prison will still be sitting at a desk!

    • Mr. Bob

      And so laurie, someone from a foreign country was going to hire you to watch their child without knowing you at all and this was being arranged by a third party because why? The alarm is so loud on this one that my ears are ringing. You turned down a legit job for this internet offer? And someone that didn’t know you at all would send you a check for 3K and just trust that you wouldn’t keep all the money??? My goodness Laurie, what is there to think about here?? You would even respond to such a ridiculous email???

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