This has got to be a scam, but I don't get it.
March 12, 2008 7:58 PM   Subscribe

I received a "job offer" via e-mail from some kind of eBay resale company. What is the deal here? I know virtually nothing about online auctions. Full text of e-mail inside.

Dear [redacted]

We have studied your CV on CareerBuilder and we would like to employ you to work with our company as an administrative assistant. Monthly pay of 1200$, is guaranteed for 10-15 hours of work each week. Our main trading specializations involve products sale and resale, as well as auction drop off. The primary target of the company is to guarantee cooperation between sellers and managers, which ensures beneficial deals. Our operation involves maintenance of auction services, which gives anyone and opportunity to sell or buy lots of kinds of goods, using the services of best sellers worldwide. With over 42,000 positive feedback, we are one of the top sellers on eBay. We have maintained a 99+ % of positive feedback constantly for more than eight years. This background makes BidWinGlobal uniquely qualified to market all kinds of collectibles, art, and jewelry on eBay.


You have to be:
• 21 years or older
• Capable to quickly respond to all emails coming from your personal manager
• Constantly reachable on the phone during the daytime (providing cell phone number is required)
• Able to accept coming packages right to your home address (not P.O. Box)

You must have:
• Basic Microsoft Office skills
• Access to the internet during the daytime
• A personal cell phone
• A clean record. Be legally trouble-free

BidWinGlobal concludes a contract with each new employee. We will also require a scanned copy of your ID (scanned driver’s license or passport) to confirm your identity. After you sign a contract I will contact you and guide you through the whole process. I will answer all questions you have and will always stay in touch with you via email.


Why auction drop-off?

Auction drop-off is a very convenient service enabling clients to sell their items at the best possible time and price. We offer our clients comprehensive support – from examining the item and highlighting its advantages to taking professional snapshots of the item. We then complete the listing form and place the item in the right auction category. Our job also involves determining the best time for the start of the auction. We notify our client once the auction starts and when the client scores a sale. During the auction we give advice to buyers, accept payments and return change when necessary. We also take care of wrapping the item and delivering it to the buyer, along with some other things that are instrumental to a perfect sale.

Who sells the items?

In our case, the seller's location is unimportant. Our sellers are everywhere: in Los Angeles, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow, you name it. Our sellers are experienced professionals with an impressive record of 98% of successful deals. At least 30 of them are qualified to work on Ebay, Qxl, and Amazon online auctions.

Where are the items dropped off?

The items are dropped off on the websites of such major online auctions as Ebay US, Amazon Auctions, Big Deals, Ebay, QXL(UK Auctions), and suchlike.

What items are usually sold?

The most hot selling items are watches, silver and golden wares, collectibles, electronic appliances.

What benefits will I have as an employee of your company?

All our employees have a two-week paid vacation twice a year. You can go on your first vacation after working with the company for three months. As our employee, you will receive a catalog with our items that are available at huge discounts. What's more, we will pay all taxes reported in your tax returns after you send us an invoice at the end of each month.
How much should I invest to start working with you? How will I receive my pay?
You will incur no expenses by starting to work with us. All expenditures that you may incur while performing your job will be covered by the company. During the trial period you will be paid $1,200 per month. After the trial period is over your base salary will go up to $1,500 per month.

What will be my responsibilities as administrative assistant?

Administrative assistants serve as a connecting link between the company and the buyer. This role is extremely important when, for instance, a London-based seller wants to drop off his item on an Australian auction website. Our assistant will make this deal possible. The administrative assistant is involved in finding and storing all relevant sales information in his respective region, and is tasked with receiving and reshipping goods from the seller to the buyer. The assistant will be expected to prepare on-demand daily, weekly and monthly reports and refer incoming and outgoing mail to representatives of the management and sales department.

Will I be directly involved in sales? How will I find out that a deal has been made?

No, you will not be directly involved in the selling process, nor will you be required to sell anything. You will have to receive and reship packages in your sales area and forward all the necessary correspondence to the administration. When a buyer is not satisfied with the item purchased, the only option here is to exchange the item, as no refunds are allowed. In this case the seller and the buyer will settle this matter on their own. Once the item has been sold and the deal closed, you will receive an e-mail with the details if the sold item including : name of the client, the tracking number of the coming package and full details of the product. When the package will be delivered to you, you will have to inform us about it by means of email, after it you will receive paid by our company label, so you will be able to ship the package to the buyer. The name of the client will be sometimes stated on the package as the recipients’ name.
NOTE : All invoices have to be removed from the received packages before reshipping them to the client.

For details, e-mail us at: [redacted]

Sincerely yours,
posted by desjardins to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Scam. Scam scam scam. They're talking about $120/hour, which smells pretty whiffy. It's a scam, they'll want your banking info later.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:02 PM on March 12, 2008

Able to accept coming packages right to your home address (not P.O. Box)


Any "job" that involves receiving packages from some shady company is almost always a scam. They are probably ordering goods with stolen credit card numbers, shipping them to you, and having you reship them to some PO box or possibly another country. When the credit card company comes looking for the criminal who received the stolen goods, they find your address rather than the bad guys'.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:07 PM on March 12, 2008

posted by Class Goat at 8:09 PM on March 12, 2008

No, they're talking about $25/hour ($1200/month, 10-12 hours per week, four weeks per month). Possibly even $7/hour, if the $1200/month is based on being able to get full time occupation for the month (they only guarantee 10-12 hours/week).

So, either it's not a scam, and you just end up working as a mail handler for minimum wage, or it is a scam and ... I dunno, laundering stolen goods?
posted by hattifattener at 8:10 PM on March 12, 2008

Report them to CareerBuilder
posted by winston at 8:14 PM on March 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

What burnmp3s said.
posted by tkolar at 8:15 PM on March 12, 2008

Total scam.
posted by pompomtom at 8:20 PM on March 12, 2008

Yes, I'm aware it's a scam and there's no chance I'm taking this "job." I'm interested in the mechanics of it. I don't understand burnmp3's explanation, since if the police showed up at my door I'd simply refer them to my employer.
posted by desjardins at 8:23 PM on March 12, 2008

Yes, scam.

I get emails like this all the time purporting to be from one job site or another. When you look at the headers they're forged though.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:24 PM on March 12, 2008

if the police showed up at my door I'd simply refer them to my employer.

In my jurisdiction, there is a crime "receiving stolen goods". You have to know they were stolen, but since you've admitted you know it's a scam, you would go down for that.

The criminals may well be offshore and out of reach of your local police, but by using you as an intermediary, they can get a seller who wouldn't ship to Ripov, Bumcrackistan to ship to you instead.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:28 PM on March 12, 2008

The scam probably also involves you handling the payments. You get paid with a check. You pass the payment on (minus your commission). A few weeks later the bank tells you the check you deposited was forged and now you are out the entire amount you sent.
posted by winston at 8:33 PM on March 12, 2008

The bare basics of the scam:
    1) Steal Credit Card numbers (easy) 2) Using Stolen Credit Card numbers, arrange to have packages sent to U.S. address (all sorts of flags go off when you try to ship to a foreign address. Most places won't even allow it) 3) Have person at U.S. address forward goods to foreign address. Often times the foreign address is a P.O. Box, or other difficult to trace address. 4) Receive goods at foreign address, profit
Because of the difficulty of coordinating international law enforcement, this scam is fairly low risk for the perpetrator. The only risk they take is in collecting the goods at the foreign address, and that may not even be a risk if the local government couldn't care less about scams against foreign companies.

As Winston mentions, there's probably a bonus scam involving your bank account in there as well, but what I listed above is the basic scam you are being asked to participate in. And yes, in the U.S. you will be prosecuted for receiving stolen goods.
posted by tkolar at 8:41 PM on March 12, 2008

One episode of The Real Hustle, which I now can't find, featured exactly this scam. A member of the public was employed (without ever meeting the employer) to collect, repackage and readdress parcels, moving them back and forward between a security deposit box and the mail.

The "dupe" was apparently genuinely surprised to learn that he might have been handling either stolen goods or drugs, in his own name, and for a mysterious overseas employer that he couldn't identify.
posted by roofus at 4:14 AM on March 13, 2008

"Able to accept coming packages right to your home address (not P.O. Box)"

They just want you to forward goods bought by stolen credit card numbers.
posted by WizKid at 6:50 AM on March 13, 2008

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