FBI, USPIS investigation shut down 17 website scams

St. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – The US Postal Inspection Service and the FBI seized and shut down 17 website domain names linked to work-from-home and reshipping scams on Thursday.

The investigation into this scam began in February 2021, when a scammer used another person’s credit card to purchase a virtual reality headset and had it shipped to a home in Hazelwood.

According to a release from US Attorney Sayler Fleming, scammers trick people looking for jobs into receiving stolen goods and then send the stolen goods to another address controlled by the scammers.

People involved in this scam believe they are accepting legitimate work from home jobs from a real company. These people who are unknowingly a part of this scam are used to insulate the perpetrators from law enforcement.

According to the release of US Attorney Fleming, the investigators found several links that lead them to believe that the scammers are in Russia.

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A victim of the scam from Hazelwood believed they were taking a work-from-home position for a company called LocalPost as a quality control inspector. He is paid $20 to deliver a package to his address, where he takes a picture of the product and then ships the items to another address.

The Hazelwood woman allowed investigators to use her login credentials to log on to the LocalPost online dashboard, where they discovered 25 packages sent to the Hazelwood address. One of the items included a $1,500 laptop fraudulently purchased with a credit card at a St. Louis County.

Another victim in Texas believed they were taking a position as a logistics inspector at another company involved in the scam. This victim spent about $32,000 that they thought would be repaid but never was.

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The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 64 complaints related to these scams. The Federal Trade Commission received 56 complaints about websites involved in these scams.

“Although the scammers who have defrauded countless numbers of people are hiding from justice in foreign countries, we shut down their ability to continue the scams by shutting down these websites,” said Fleming. “This case should serve as a warning to them, and to those who may be tricked into participating in similar scams in the future. Anyone approaching the opportunity to work from home should thoroughly investigate their future. that is before sharing any personal information.

One way to stay protected from these scams is to double check information before offering private information.

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“This is another type of cyber fraud used by criminals, often overseas, to prey on hardworking Americans,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay Greenberg of the FBI St. Louis Division. “To avoid most online scams, make it a habit to ‘Always Be Skeptical and Check It Out.’ With this type of scheme, do an internet search of the ‘business’ addresses provided and then call the phone number of that location to verify.

Information on finding these types of scams can be found through the Federal Trade Commission and the AARP.

You can report these crimes to the US Postal Inspection Service or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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