Consumer Alert: "Work from home" opportunity turned out to be an international scam
One woman turned out to be the victim of a work from home scam.
It seemed like the perfect job. It offered a good salary and flexible hours, but a worker in one case ended up being ensnarled in an international scam that could target you next.
"I was warned by a lot of people about Craig's List, but a lot of people get jobs off Craig's List," says Iretha Clark, a fraud victim.
Iretha Clark was at home on disability, but was looking for a part-time job with flexible hours. She was thrilled to find work as a "shipping coordinator," receiving packages and shipping them overseas.
"I thought it was so great because I'll be at home and you know it wouldn't be so much of a struggle," says Clark.
Plus, the job touted a base salary of $1500 every month, plus the chance to earn a bonus.
"These people who were being recruited believe that they are going to be compensated either for a box they ship out or that they will be compensated for a month or every couple weeks," says Reginald Wade, a U.S. Postal Inspector.
Clark was given a diagram with specific instructions on what to do, including how to receive packages, take pictures of the items and then send them overseas.
"He even gave some directions on what to say to the clerk," says Wade.
After working for two weeks, Iretha received a letter from her employer saying her packages were not being received. Iretha had all of her paperwork, so she filed a report with her local post office. She quickly learned she was caught up in a scam when a postal inspector showed up at her door.
"There was a badge in my face and I was like, "oh my God. What's going on." I just like, "wow, I'm going to jail," says Clark.
"When we interview them, a lot of them say, "I thought something didn't feel quite right," says Wade.
"I still feel embarrassed about how I let that happen to me," says Clark. "I blame myself."
If you are looking for a job online, be prepared to do some homework and ask yourself one important question.
"What legitimate company is going to send items to you in somebody else's name and have you send them to another country," says Wade. "Why wouldn't they do it on their own?"
Postal inspectors also recommend doing research on the company offering you a position, including checking with the Better Business Bureau and your state attorney general's office.