What is a Reshipping Scam?

A reshipping scam involves tricking a third party to act as a go-between for two or more sources in shipping. While this sounds benign on the surface, the worst case seemingly being that you lose some money paying for postage, it's actually far more dangerous than this.

For one, this is a strategy used by people buying and selling illegal or illegally obtained goods, such as things bought using stolen credit card information. If you get involved in a reshipping scam you might be charged with helping to set up the operation yourself, as one method of distributing the postal money orders used for shipping (most often counterfeits themselves) is by using others they've contracted through these scams.

How Do Reshipping Scams Work?

The exact means of luring people into becoming part of the reshipping scam varies. This is one of its worst qualities as it can be adapted to prey upon all sorts of different people.

The simplest method is to send out email spam in the form of job offers. You'll suddenly get a message saying so-and-so corporation wants you to become a "package processing assistant" with a large salary, all for the simple task of receiving and shipping packages to different addresses across the world using postage that's already been paid for by someone else.

There are also a number of variations on this premise, though all will involve the promise of a job you can do from home. Some might simply cut out the middleman by offering to pay you in some non-cash compensation for wiring money to another address, the compensation you get almost always being counterfeit and completely worthless.

Reshipping scams can also be used for identity theft. Any online scam can double as a way of collecting a victim's personal information like address, social security number, or credit card number.

B&H's Success Attracts Fraudsters

B&H Photo Shuts Down 5-Figure Reshipping Scam

With such an ambitious and accommodating policy, opportunistic fraudsters’ ploys are expected. For example, in 2014, one ‘customer’ placed 11 separate orders for merchandise worth tens of thousands of dollars.

"It turned out that this guy in Minneapolis had ‘business partners' in Russia,” recounts Barry. “They provided him with stolen credit card information – updated with his billing address – and promised to pay him $2,500 per month to reship our merchandise to Russia where it could be resold for a substantial profit.”

The orders started out slow to avoid suspicion: just a few thousand dollars. After each order’s approval, the fraudsters would make larger purchases.

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