Given the title of this post, you might be wondering what uShip has to do with online job fraud. The answer is ssentially nothing – which is why we had to write this post in the first place. We’re a growing company with offices on two continents, and we bring on talented new team members on an almost-weekly basis.
When it comes to the Internet, common sense goes a long way. But on occasion, fraudsters prey on unsuspecting (or just naive) job-seekers and consumers via email by “spoofing” various online brands. (“Spoofing” is when a cammer pretends to represent a company by stealing logos, images, messaging, and other brand assets.)
uShip is not immune. That’s why uShip.com and other marketplace-based companies often have dedicated fraud prevention teams that track down fraudsters that abuse their brands and products.
Here’s one of the more recent “online jobs” scams our team has come across:
Payment-Transfer Scams and Mail/Package Forwarding Scams
These relatively complex scams, like others, prey on the desperation of their victims. In this case, job-seekers’ eagerness for an easy, remotely-based job gets the best of their judgment. The goal of the scam may be cash (via money transfer), identity theft, or to have the victim unknowingly assist with a larger crime like theft or money laundering.
Applying for a job online? Here’s how to protect yourself.
- Do not send a copy of your ID, your Social Security Number, or bank information with a preliminary job application. In the real world, you’ll have an interview before any of this information becomes relevant.
- Do not pay money to apply for a job. Be wary of any “business” that mentions Pay Pal or Western Union money transfers. If they’re asking you to receive transfers and forward them along, they’re probably laundering money.
- Make sure any email contact from a company comes from that company’s officialdomain. The domain is everything after the @ symbol in an email address. (uShip’sdomain is uShip.com, therefore, all emails from uShip employees and recruiters will come from an email address ending in “@uShip.com.” If it doesn’t, it’s not us!)
- Be careful when posting your resume to online job boards. Even legitimate, conscientious websites cannot always control who views or downloads your information. Even if you “delete” your information, it may exist in other online databases or dark networks.
- If you’re offered a job at any company – do your homework and investigate what they do. In the case of uShip, we are not a trucking company, freight forwarder, or a broker. We are an online marketplace for transport services with offices in Austin and Amsterdam. If someone is offering for you to work uShip as a carrier, forwarder, or broker, again, it’s not us!
How Payment-Transfer/Package Forwarding* Scams Work:
- The package forwarding scam originates with thieves around the world that steal credit card numbers and use them to purchase goods online. Obviously, the scammers can’t send shipments to their own homes or P.O. boxes – so…
- The scammer then sets up phony ads on Craigslist or other online job boards promising payments for any number of tasks.
- After sourcing victims online, the fraudster reveals the job involves forwarding packages, often under the guise of employment for a recognized brand, such as uShip.
- After obtaining any combination of identity/financial data, cash, or forwarded shipments from the victim, they move onto the next.
Basically, these con artists pretend to represent an employer of some kind. They may also use information from resume/CV documents they’ve located via Monster.com, LinkedIn, and other career sites. After the victim believes they have been hired— for reasons unknown to us— they trust their new employer with sensitive information that no one should ever hand over to an unknown third party: “direct deposit” bank account information, social security numbers, etc.
The level of detail leading up to this trust is impressive. We’ve seen forged state EEO forms, non-disclosure agreements, direct deposit payroll forms, and detailed instructions that allow scammers to steal victims’ identities and continue a lucrative career converting stolen credit card numbers into hard goods.
*Note that freight forwarding is an unrelated, legitimate and well-established supply chain industry in which licensed companies organize and distribute international shipments across the world. Several freight forwarders use the uShip platform, but none of them are involved in these schemes.