Re-shipping Internet fraud cases cause individuals and small businesses to re-ship their goods to certain countries that have weak legal systems. Not only are they stealing goods from these businesses, but they are also paying for them using stolen or fake credit cards. The scam works slightly different in each country it involves, due to the various laws and details regarding that country's re-shipping scam.
In Africa, the scammers will find victims for the re-shipping scam in chat rooms and various dating websites in order to develop relationships with the individuals. By doing this, the scammer is obtaining personal details about these people and forming a long-distance relationship. The scammer will use a fake or stolen credit card to purchase goods online and send it to the victim. This scammer tells the victim they accidentally put the wrong address and the goods were purchased for themselves, so the victim sends the goods to the scammers' real address. Once this happened, all communications are cut by the scammer and they have just received free goods without a paper trail.
In Eastern Europe, the re-shipping scam involves goods purchased from online classifieds, where the scammer will claim to be a growing company based in Europe, but is trying to gain a presence in the United States. The scammer will use a counterfeited cashier's check to purchase goods and have them shipped to the victim in the United States, and ask them to ship them back to a separate destination in Europe. By doing this, the scammers have received goods without costing them anything that does not have a paper trail that will catch them in the fraudulent act. In China this scam is much the same, except for they use spam emails to contact people who are looking to make money by shipping goods from the U.S. to China.
This type of Internet fraud typically victimized job seekers or individuals who frequently search online for "work at home" jobs or ways to make a little extra money. The scammers will offer them "job" to work for their fake company, or just some extra money for shipping the stolen goods. Many times, scammers will find their victims advertising their desire for work on Internet-based job boards such as Craigslist or Monster. They will contact them and inform them of a position available, using fake shipping companies.
To avoid getting caught up in this fraudulent activity, be very cautious when you communicate with unknown individuals on the Internet. Do not accept jobs that seem far-fetched or too good to be true. Additionally, letters or emails with very poor spelling, grammar or English are big alarm bells for scammers. If you have been contacted by a company looking for these types of shipping services, look the company up on the Better Business Bureau website to see if it is a valid company. If not, stop all communication and report them to the authorities.