10/25/2017 1:22:53 PM
SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is alerting Minnesotans to be on guard against a fraudulent employment offer that claims to be from an insurance agency in the state.
In the past week, the Commerce Department has received five complaints and inquiries from Minnesotans who were contacted, via email and phone, by someone claiming to be with “Skyline Insurance” and offering a job re-labeling and forwarding packages to other addresses. The job offer promises as much as $3,500 per month for the work.
There is no insurance business licensed in Minnesota by the name of Skyline Insurance. There is no Skyline Insurance located at the physical address listed in the email, nor does anyone answer at the phone number. The company’s purported federal employer identification number actually belongs to eBay. The company’s website (skyline-ins.com) is fake, too, but with a minimal amount of content to make it look like a legitimate insurance agency.
It is known as “reshipping” and often shows up as a “work from home” opportunity posted on job boards, dating websites or chat rooms. In reality, it is an attempt to lure unsuspecting individuals to participate in a large-scale fraud scheme.
Criminals use stolen credit cards to buy high-priced goods online and have them sent to the U.S. addresses of “reshipping mules,” who repackage the stolen goods and mail it to overseas addresses. Not only do the reshippers get pulled into a crime, they also typically never get paid and, in fact, lose the money they spent on their own for the reshipping.
Sometimes the scam also involves the victim getting a fake certified or regular check to deposit in their own bank account. They are instructed to use some of it for postage but wire transfer most of it elsewhere. When the bank determines the check is counterfeit or part of a crime, the victim may end up responsible for the full amount of the check along with any bank fees.
A recent study suggests that some 1.6 million credit and debit cards are used to commit at least $1.8 billion in reshipping fraud each year. Many online retailers have stopped allowing direct shipments from the U.S. to Russia, eastern Europe and Africa, citing the high rate of fraudulent transactions. As a result, criminals have resorted to reshipping schemes.
The Commerce Department offers the following tips to help Minnesotans avoid getting lured into a reshipping scam:
Don’t accept or mail suspicious packages. No legitimate business should ask you to accept packages at your address and forward them someplace else, especially a foreign address.
Protect your money. Be suspicious if you are asked to make any upfront payments, transfer money from your bank account or wire transfer money for the “employer.”
Safeguard your information. Don’t give out any sensitive personal or financial information that the scammers can exploit. Even if they are not reshipping operators, they may be identity thieves.
Do some research. Simply looking at the company’s website may not be enough because reshipping operators often set up websites that can look legitimate. Check out the company with the Minnesota Commerce Department or the Better Business Bureau.
Commerce is here to help
If you have a question or concern about a possible scam, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
p: 651-539-1463 | c: 651-368-5050 | firstname.lastname@example.org