NEW YORK – A new report from Better Business Bureau looks at the riskiest scams and finds employment scams are now number one — and those scams are hitting close to home in the Flathead Valley.
Rad Helding of Kalispell wanted some extra work so he posted his resume on some job sites and soon got an email from a company calling itself Delta Express Couriers.
“It certainly sounded appealing to me at the time,” said Helding of the offer to work from home as a “purchase clerk”, buying electronics in large quantities, then shipping them to the company’s clients, mostly overseas.
The job paid over $72,000 a year plus bonuses. Helding says he did his research and checked out the company’s website and Sacramento location. “It all seemed up front to me.”
The company then sent him $2,000 so he bought iPhones at a Best Buy and shipped them off as instructed.
He says for the next batch of purchases, the company told him to temporarily use his own credit card but provided bank account and routing numbers he could use to reimburse himself for those expenses.
It worked — until he called his card company a few weeks later. “She says, ‘I need to tell you that this account is stolen and you are not authorized to make payments from that account’,” Helding said.
When he reached out to the company his emails came back as undeliverable and phones calls went unanswered.
It turned out that all of the transactions were fraudulent — including that original $2,000 ‘payment’. Helding is now out what he paid for the electronics — over $35,000.
He’s one of thousands of Americans who fall for employment scams.
“Scammers definitely use at home opportunities, because they know people are looking for those opportunities,” explained Melissa Trumpower with the Better Business Bureau.
Adam Levin’s company Cyberscout has been looking into Helding’s case — which he says shows indications of criminal syndicates, “b
ecause they’re laundering money.”
“So they get him to buy $30,000 worth of electronics and they go and sell the $30,000 of electronics and they’ve got clean money.
Work at home job scams are extremely common and the BBB says you should be very, very careful about them — especially if the company contacts you, as they did in this case.
-Anna Werner reporting for CBS News