Steve Landeen, Deseret News
OREM — An Orem man thought he was getting the perfect summer job to bring in some extra money. Instead, he got scammed.
Jon, who does not want his identity revealed, said he was embarrassed because even though he did his homework and checked for fraud warnings online, he still got duped.
"It's a pretty sick feeling," Jon said. "I know that my credit has been jeopardized and is being used even as we sit here."
Now he is monitoring his credit report and banking activities.
It all started when Jon posted his resume online to find a job. Two weeks ago, a shipping company with an address listed in Miami contacted him and told him he'd get paid $2,000 a month to ship packages.
"It was a work-from-home type position,” he said, “and I had put requests with Monster and Career Builder." After checking out the company online and checking for fraud warnings, Jon thought it seemed to be legitimate.
"Even though it kind of seemed kind of a weird deal that I was getting paid so much for so little work," he said, "it had all the makings of a regular organization."
The company hired Jon as a reshipper, and he went through the usual process as most new hires at a variety of businesses.
He talked to the company's human resources department, which had him fill out a W-2, detailing his date of birth, address and Social Security number, direct deposit information.
Jon received several packages in the mail, which he then would forward to addresses in Europe or Russia, among other places. But he received a strange notice from the post office Monday.
"This is considered a scam," Jon recounted of the Post Office message. "Sounds like you participated in one. You probably need to contact the credit bureau. And I was in denial; I was like, 'No!’”
The scammers used Jon's identity to open new credit cards in his name and buy items that he was shipping around the world. What was supposed to be the perfect job to bring in extra income to support his family turned into a nightmare for Jon.
“This wasn’t a job,” he said. “This was a way to get me to give them my identity so they could open up credit card applications.”
Attempts to call the company in question were unsuccessful. An automated response system referred callers to dial an extension or wait for a receptionist, but then immediately disconnected.
"This is just a new twist to an old scam," Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez said. “Basically, that’s what this guy was, a middle man for this scam.”
Martinez said the victims become involved in illegal activity that could affect other people whose identities are also stolen.
"There's really no one answer as a catch-all to protect yourself from this happening to you. You just have to be very suspicious," he said.
The local police department is usually aware of the latest scams and provides several resources if someone thinks something is suspicious.
“If I had known the words reshipper on this scam, you’ll know in two seconds if you Google it that it’s a scam,” Jon said.
He now has a fraud alert on his credit report and closed his checking accounts. He is working with police to try to catch the culprits.
The Utah Attorney General's Office is working with Jon to notify Florida police, but since each transaction was made overseas, there's little recourse for victims of these types of scams.