(BB) – In the wake of pandemic layoffs, many consumers are browsing the Internet for their next job opportunity. Just as legitimate companies are seeking out their next employee, scammers are hiring too. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about employment scams, particularly, work-from-home opportunities.
Here’s the Scam:
Since January 2021, the BBB has received several Scam Tracker reports on Sinoway Operations USA LLC, of Fairmont, WV, offering work-from-home positions to repackage boxes. According to the BBB Serving Canton Region & Greater West Virginia, consumers allege the company contacts them by email with a work-from-home job opportunity. After a quick phone interview and job offer, the new hires are asked to supply their banking information, including a w-4, and to set up direct deposit.
The complainants told BBB the company shipped boxes to their home asking them to “repackage and reship packages using their provided labels”. At the end of their first month of employment, none of the consumers received the promised payment for completed work. Instead, the company stopped returning calls and emails and locked them out of the dashboard for shipping labels.
BBB Tips for Consumers Looking for Work-From-Home Opportunities:
- Pay attention to unusual procedures. Job offers without interviews are a red flag of employment scams. Be very suspicious if an unfamiliar “employer” or recruiter asks for your Social Security number, birth date, bank account number, or other private information that could be used to steal your identity. Always be wary of work-from-home, package reshipment, and secret shopper positions. A company sending you items in somebody else’s name, then asking you to reship them, ask yourself – why aren’t they just doing it themselves?
- Ask questions. If you want to take advantage of a work-from-home opportunity, you will need to do your research. The FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule has safeguards in place to make sure you have the information you need to tell whether a work-at-home opportunity is a risky business. Under the Rule, sellers have to give you a one-page disclosure document that offers key pieces of information about the opportunity. Use the information in the disclosure document to fact-check what the seller tells you. Get as much information as you can about the job before accepting the offer.
- Report the bad actors. You can report employment, reshipping, and work-at-home scams to BBB ScamTracker, the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and your state’s Attorney General.