FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A quick-thinking postal employee helped uncover a counterfeit check scheme involving a work at home job opportunity.
"He wanted to know how to package iPads," the worker said. "I said where are you shipping them to and he had four of them I said, "Where are you shipping them to international."
Kelly Worthman has worked for the postal service 28 years.
She immediately knew something was not right. He said he was shipping the items for a new job he got online.
"I said, 'Sir, please do not mail these packages international, this is a scam," Worthman said. "No, no, it's not a scam - they gave me the money. I said the money is not there."
Kelly immediately called a postal inspector and asked the man to wait a short time while they did a little research.
"We looked into the company and it's completely bogus," US Postal Inspector Ivan Ramirez said.
So, they called the customer who admits he was initially still planning to send the iPads despite the first warning.
"You know for a minute there I was hesitant, I didn't know what to think," he said. "I was actually going to go to another post office and mail this out. Thankfully, he did not because it turned out to be a complete fraud and he would have lost everything."
The scam is a simple bait-and-switch.
A company asks you to buy and send electronics quickly and then deposit their check into your account, by the time the bank realizes the check is bad, victims have sent the purchased items and the money is gone.
The bank comes back and says the check is no good, now you're bouncing checks now your payments to your car, or your car note, or your mortgage are getting affected.
Inspectors say the reshipping jobs or mystery shopper scams are growing in popularity.
The best way to protect yourself is to research the company.
If there is no physical address, if you can't go and speak with someone face to face, that should be your first red flag.