Questions to Ask
Reshipping scams are often targeted at work at home moms
or other people trying to supplement their income. These
scams begin with an employment offer, usually via email,
to the victim. As with the Nigerian scam, these
"employers" offer legitimate looking contracts and other
documentation to make them appear legitimate. Once the
victim's trust has been obtained, packages are shipped
to the victim's residence with instructions to reship
the packages to another address (often the victim is
asked to repackage the goods). Once the package has been
shipped from the victim's residence (or using a service
such as DHL, FedEx or UPS) the victim is "guilty" of
receiving and shipping stolen property. This often leads
to a visit from police, as the return address or
shipping receipts lead back to the victim.
Legitimate work-at-home program sponsors should tell you - in writing - what's involved in the program they are selling. Here are some questions you might ask a promoter:
The answers to these questions may help you determine whether a work-at-home program is appropriate for your circumstances, and whether it is legitimate.
- What tasks will I have to perform? (Ask the program sponsor to list every step of the job.)
- Will I be paid a salary or will my pay be based on commission?
- Who will pay me?
- When will I get my first paycheck?
- What is the total cost of the work-at-home program, including supplies, equipment and membership fees? What will I get for my money?
You also might want to check out the company with your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau, not only where the company is located, but also where you live. These organizations can tell you whether they have received complaints about the work-at-home program that interests you. But be wary: the absence of complaints doesn't necessarily mean the company is legitimate. Unscrupulous companies may settle complaints, change their names or move to avoid detection
Where to Complain
If you have spent money and time on a work-at-home program and now believe the program may not be legitimate, contact the company and ask for a refund. Let company representatives know that you plan to notify officials about your experience. If you can't resolve the dispute with the company, file a complaint with these organizations:
- The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or log on to www.ftc.gov.
- The Attorney General's office in your state or the state where the company is located. The office will be able to tell you whether you're protected by any state law that may regulate work-at-home programs.
- Your local consumer protection offices.
- Your local Better Business Bureau.
- Your local postmaster. The U.S. Postal Service investigates fraudulent mail practices.
- The advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad. The manager may be interested to learn about the problems you've had with the company
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