BOISE, Idaho — With thousands of Idahoans laid off from their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are looking for ways to make a little extra cash.
Scammers looking to take advantage of those who are struggling financially are targeting residents with bogus work-from-home offers, Boise police warned on Wednesday.
"Reshipping scams are a hot trend targeting people who visit job sites, dating sites, and chat rooms," police said in a news release. "You'll find reshipping scams disguised as bogus work-at-home offers, fake "sweethearts" who need your help, and charities asking you to donate to their cause — in Europe or Africa."
Officers with the BPD's Community Outreach Division recently intercepted thousands of dollars in stolen items that were being shipped through Boise by unsuspecting residents.
The scam came to light when investigators in Gilbert, Arizona notified Boise police about a case involving financial transaction card fraud and items being shipped to a home in Boise.
Police in Boise and inspectors from the US Postal Service learned of a potential reshipping scam occurring with an online retailer.
Investigators began monitoring packages arriving at a Boise home and ultimately seized nearly 50 stolen packages - valued at more than $10,000 - destined for the home.
Police and postal inspectors visited the home on Tuesday and seized an additional $7,000 in stolen merchandise.
According to police, the residents living at the home were scammed into reshipping stolen merchandise.
While the bogus work-from-home offer may seem like an easy way to make money, postal inspectors warn that it could end up costing you money. And worse, you could face felony charges.
Reshipping scams are complex and usually involve several crimes, officials said.
Some criminals purchase merchandise with stolen credit cards and need your help to smuggle the goods out of the country. Others send you counterfeit money orders or checks and ask you to reship them to another address. You'll be given counterfeit postage to reship the illegal items.
According to authorities, anyone who helps these scammers - even unwittingly - could face several felony charges.
"Even if you don't get caught, it's likely you'll lose a lot of money," the police news release reads. "When they send you a money order or check for payment, you're told to deposit it, keep a portion, and wire the remaining amount elsewhere."
You can protect yourself by making sure any money orders or checks are genuine before you deposit them. If your bank finds the money order or check is counterfeit, you may be liable for the full amount you deposited.
Authorities also offered the following advice:
- Don't accept packages at your address for people you don't know.
- Don't accept calls from people who want you to reship their mail.
- If you've already received items from such an offer—don't mail them!
- Report suspected scams. Call Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455 (press 5).
Here is more information from US Postal Service on how to avoid reshipping scams.
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