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Mail, phone scams plague area

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POSTED: March 26, 2014 11:47 a.m.

The Long County Sheriff’s Office wants to get the word out that job seekers who are looking to work from home are falling prey to an ongoing mail-fraud scam.
Lt. Tom Sollosi said the department is investigating a case in which someone applied for a work-from-home job that entailed shipping packages for what the victim thought was a legitimate company. Sollosi said the hire was sent $12,000 worth of stolen electronics and clothing, and was provided shipping labels to send the merchandise to different addresses all over the world.
The lieutenant said this scam involves two victims — the person from whom the merchandise was stolen and the scammer’s “employee,” who unknowingly shipped stolen merchandise.
“As far as this person knew, from their limited knowledge, this was a real job mailing out merchandise to different addresses,” Sollosi said.
He said that criminals post job announcements on the Internet, offering work-from-home positions, sometimes called merchandise managers or package-processing assistants. He said that the job description usually entails having to receive packages and mailing them to foreign addresses on behalf of a client using postage-paid mailing labels, which are provided to them via email.
People who participate in this scam can be charged with receiving stolen property. Sollosi said that the sheriff’s office and the postal-inspection service are investigating.
“Please don’t participate in re-shipping scams,” he said. “Involvement in these activities can result in civil or criminal charges being filed.”
Sollosi said that Georgia actually is contending with a second scam that involves criminals posing as representatives from law-enforcement agencies and court offices. Across the state, reports are coming in from people who’ve fielded calls from scammers who claim the intended victims have outstanding tickets or citations. The scammer attempts to obtain a credit- or debit-card number from the victim, who is told her or she must pay the fine over the phone.
“A law-enforcement office or a court will never contact you and have you pay a fine like this over the phone,” Sollosi said.
He said people need to keep their guards up and be on the lookout for these scams and similar ruses.
“You can’t be too careful,” Sollosi said. “If you’re not sure about something and you think it may be a scam, call us and we’ll check it out, but never give out your personal information over the phone.”
For more information, call the LCSO at 545-2118.


 

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