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Police warn jobseekers not to become ‘parcel mules’ in online scam

GEDLING jobseekers looking for work online are being warned of a scam that could result in them being arrested for handling stolen goods and also losing their own cash.

Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, are warning that people are being targeted online to be used as “parcel mules”  by fraudsters as part of a reshipping scam.

Victims first get contacted through freelancer job websites and are offered work as a “freight forwarder”. The job advertised involves processing packages and then forwarding them on to clients.

Successful applicants are then persuaded to have items delivered to their addresses and to pay for postage before sending the items on elsewhere.

What victims don’t know is that the items being delivered and then posted on have been purchased through fraudulent means, often involving the use of stolen or fraudulently obtained cards.

The packages being handled contain pieces of electrical equipment or high value goods such as trainers, perfume and the latest phones.

A spokesman for Action Fraud said: “If you act as a ‘mule’ then you are not only handling stolen goods, but also losing out financially.

“You will not get paid the promised salary and you pay for the postage and delivery of the packages personally. Additionally, you will have provided enough of your personal details to allow identity theft to occur.”

Tips to protect yourself from being a parcel mule :

  • Be cautious of unsolicited job offers or opportunities to make easy money.
  • Do not agree to receive packages at your address for someone that you do not know and trust.
  • When accepting a job offer, verify the company details provided to you and check whether they have been registered in the UK.
  • Be wary of someone that you have met only online who asks you to send money or to receive items. Protect your privacy and do not give your personal details to someone that you do not know and trust.
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If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

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