Online work from home has caught the attention of federal agents, and it led identity theft, transporting stolen goods and hundreds of innocent victims all over the United States.
Good things arrive in small packages, or so, thought Matthew Doub from a small town in Delaware. ABC7 reported.
“Everything was a godsend until I was supposed to get paid,” Doub said.
Matthew is now at risk of having his identity stolen and is worried he might face legal trouble for his role in fraud he didn’t even realize he was a part of the online work scheme.
After being out of work on disability for few months, Doub applied for a seemingly legitimate online work from home and did his research. It had a nice organized website, “HR department” and even an online portal to complete his work. He provided all his information to get started.
“It was normal typical stuff you would have to do with HR department,” he said. “You had to sign a W-4 form that you had to put your Social Security number, a direct deposit form, bank information, routing number and bank account.”
The plan was very easy. Receive packages at his house in Bear, Delaware, upload images of what’s inside to his employer and print a shipping label, then ship it out to its next receiver.
“At first it was small stuff,” he said. “I had a few makeup kits and then smartphones the iPhone 7 and 8s came in. It came in the actual companies box Verizon, Banana Republic, Macy’s stamp right on the package.”
Matthew was promised a monthly salary of more than $2,500.
“I thought somebody was finally shining down on me, to be able to provide for my family,” he said.
After shipping about 25 packages in March 2018 locally in Delaware and to New York, he was eager for a check that never came.
All 3 of his managers disconnected their cellphones, and he was booted from the employer’s website.
“And they just move on,” US Postal Service Inspector Alex Sylvester said. “These people are good. They don’t have regular jobs as we do. This is what they do and fraud people.”
Inspector Sylvester says there have been hundreds, if not thousands of victims like Matthew. The scam has layers, often the merchandise inside the box, shipped to victims like Matthew, was bought with stolen credit cards.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Inspector said.
Unwitting victims typically ship the packages to addresses near airports, then flown overseas.
Federal investigators tasked with catching these cyber criminals are tracking down credit card numbers, IP addresses, and following those packages to the operators involved.
They’re now working with Matthew Doub, who never did get any answers or payment from his fake employer.