The Urbana postmaster is warning residents not to get involved in a scam that would have them receiving and shipping items purchased with stolen credit card numbers.
Michael Hicks, the postmaster, said the scam has affected Urbana residents several times this year.
This is how it works:
— Scammers who live outside the U.S. use stolen credit card information to buy high-end merchandise online. (Hicks used the example of Russian scammers.)
— They set up shell companies and advertise online, recruiting people in the U.S. to work from home.
— Those retailers ship the merchandise to the U.S. residents
— The scammers provide the residents electronic postage (also stolen), and residents are expected to take the packages to the post office and reship them back to Russia.
— The scammers promise to pay the U.S. residents per package they reship, but never do.
"Everybody's out of something," Hicks said, because the scam includes stealing merchandise, postage and the person doing the reshipping is never paid.
Hicks warns residents to be careful.
"If it looks to good to be true, it is," he said. "We repeat that all the time."
He recommends rthat esidents call the Better Business Bureau to check out companies offering work-from-home opportunities.
More information about this scam and similar schemes is available on the U.S. Postal Inspector's website, at http://tinyurl.com/reshippingscams .