Updated:None — Police in Charlotte said a scam has taken a new twist.
Scammers are expanding their operations, trying to make others their unsuspecting partners in crime.
Florlita Hamilton showed Whistleblower 9 packages that were shipped to her home that she was supposed to send overseas as part of what she thought was a legitimate job. She said she found it on careerbuilder.com.
"(It) said work from home, your own hours, pick up packages and resend them," Hamilton said. "First month pay was like $2,000."
She said she was directed to a website called getyourparcel.com. Police said it's similar to other elaborate fronts for criminal operations.
Two days after she got the job, two cameras, a lens and a shirt arrived in the mail. Hamilton said her "boss" asked her to mail them to France and Greece.
But Hamilton got suspicious when she noticed all the different names on the invoices, so she contacted them.
"Another guy said emphatically, no, he did not buy anything," Hamilton said. "He wanted to track the package and payment source. So these people had no idea."
Whistleblower 9 asked financial crimes Detective Kevin Stuesse with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to take a look. He said his unit sees cases like this one every week.
Stuesse said typically, the scammers operate in Eastern Europe or Russia. He's never seen France or Greece involved, which, he said, could be a sign they're expanding.
"They usually go for electronics or expensive clothing, probably for a resale," Stuesse said. "The main thing is get back to cash."
Stuesse said when you hear stories in the news like the recent credit card number thefts from Sony's Playstation network, this is what criminals are doing with those numbers.
To avoid fraud, many American retailers won't ship certain items overseas.
That's where victims like Hamilton come in, unknowingly serving as go-betweens to get the illegally bought goods overseas, where police in this area have no jurisdiction and where quick sales bring easy cash.
Hamilton said more items have been showing up in the mail.
"And now they are threatening to sue you?" Whistleblower 9's Scott Wickersham said.
"Right," Hamilton said. "They say I have not shipped out their packages and that's stealing their property."
Now she's worried that the con artists have some of her personal information, too. But she's glad she did some investigating of her own before she inadvertently helped commit a crime.