Boise Police Department
News Release

William L. Bones
Chief of Police

Contact: BPD Media Relations Office


Monday, March 12, 2012

Reshipping Scam hits Boise

Reshipping scams are hitting the Boise area targeting job seekers. Don't fall victim!

    Boise, March 12, 2012 - Boise Police are warning citizens of a scam that disguises itself as a "work at home" deal, but could end in criminal charges! The scam isn't new. But it's affect on Boise citizens and at least one local business is.

    Detectives with the Boise Police Financial Crimes Unit say in the past three weeks, several citizens and one local business appear to have fallen victim to what's known as a Reshipping Scam; businesses send and citizens receive and reship items based on financial accounts that are fake. 

    "These scams look like legitimate job offers but they fall into the "too good to be true" category," said Sgt. Randy Buzzini of the Boise Police Financial Crimes Unit. "There's no reason a legitimate foreign company needs a middleman to intercept packages here. Asking citizens to help pay for the shipping or set up accounts only adds to the giant red flags involved in these scams."    

    Reshipping aka Package Forwarding Scams:

    How Business are Victimized:The scam begins with a suspect who could be anywhere in the world, setting up an account with a business, often an electronics company, using a stolen or fraudulent credit card or line of credit. The suspect then orders product from the business and has it shipped to a real address. Businesses will often wait to see if the charge goes through on the card before shipping the product, however it's not uncommon for a charge to go through then later be denied because it's found to be invalid. 

    How Citizens are Dupped:Since foreign crime rings have difficulty getting electronics companies to ship goods abroad, they "employ" Americans who also become victims. These are often people responding to e-mailed "work at home" offers or even jobs posted on well-known job hunting websites. The "job offers" may be positions such as "merchandising manager," "package processing assistant," or a similar title. Job duties generally include receiving packages and mailing them to a foreign address on behalf of a client. 

    The citizens then unknowingly become fences, reshipping merchandise paid for with the fraudulent credit account. When police track down the packages, reported by businesses who've found the phoney accounts, the trail leads to the unwitting citizens. 

    Boise Police Financial Crimes detectives have tracked down several citizens who unknowingly had received items like iPhones and computer electronics, valued between several hundred and more than $1,000, who were preparing to reship the items to a foreign address. No charges have been filed as the citizens reported they were unaware of being involved in the scam. However, officers did warn them to avoid involvement in the future or criminal charges could be possible.

    Tips to protect yourself from the US Postal Inspection Service:

    Red Flags for Job Seekers:

  • The job offer comes from overseas.
  • The job requires you to receive shipments of costly electronics at your home, check the contents and then re-ship the packages overseas.
  • You're given credit card numbers to use when you order merchandise, but you aren't sent an actual company credit card.
  • You're sent a check that you're supposed to use to cover both the costs of ordering goods and your salary. This could be a fake check scam as well.

    Protect Yourself:

  • Never agree to a job where you are required to reship merchandise abroad.
  • Don't be fooled by official-looking reports and forms that you're supposed to fill out. That's just a ploy the scammers use to make this con seem legitimate.
  • Don't set up a bank account. No legitimate company will ask you to set up an account for it or ask you to process orders through your own bank account.
  • Never agree to wire money abroad. Legitimate companies do not issue oversize checks and then ask employees to do the math and send back the surplus.
  • Learn to recognize a reshipping scam.