What Is A Shipping Mule And How Can This Scam Affect Your Small Business?
We’ve all seen them, ads claiming you can work from home and make a quick and easy $5,000. All that’s asked of you is to receive merchandise at your home address and ship it to another. Sounds easy enough, right? This is a standard shipping mule scam, where fraudsters use fake advertising to hire mules who ship items purchased with stolen cards abroad.
How It Works
Business owners are typically cautious when it comes to shipping merchandise to countries outside of the United States. Fraudsters go around this by shipping merchandise to an address that will not raise concern from the business they are ordering from. Through the use of fake advertising, scammers recruit shipping mules. The mules are individuals in a U.S. city that are interested in making an easy amount of quick cash. The sole job of the shipping mule is to receive and re-ship packages abroad. Mules are unaware the goods they are shipping have been purchased with a stolen credit card, unwillingly involving themselves in a fraud scheme.
Once the fraudster hires a shipping mule, the “employer” sends a check up front to cover the first round of shipping costs or promises payment after the first month of completed shipments. Once the stolen merchandise arrives at the mules home, reshipping abroad begins. Typically, payment received from the employer is in the form of a fake check or money order. The unsuspecting victim is left in legal trouble for laundering stolen goods and responsible for covering the amount of the bad check.
What to Avoid
This common scam methodology has typical red flags you can look for. Be cautious of job advertisements using phrases like reshipping, package shipping, package forwarding, money wires. Avoid accepting packages that need to be reshipped, specially to a foreign country. Most importantly, do your research. If something seems suspicious, try searching for similar framework online.
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