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.