Fraudsters are increasingly using middlemen to handle goods fraudulently purchased online. These so-called parcel mules are being recruited through dating sites by unscrupulous conmen posing as potential partners for the lonely and gullible or via bogus job adverts. A lower rent version of money mules - the intermediaries in …
It's a common email job scam/spam
I have received several emails offering me "employment" for receiving and forwarding parcels for an un-named foreign company.
Mine's the one with the lonely heart on the sleeve.
Nothing new here, this sort of action has been going on with various fraudulent ordering schemes for the last 5 years+. Using fake credit cards to order items online has always carried a risk for the guilty and this isn't exactly a new development in how they try to counteract that risk.
As well as using other people from dating sites, there are various services which could be exploited by these online groups such as a delivery forwarding companies and what were lovingly referred to as black box drops. A black box drop is when a parcel is delivered to a fake address only to have a delivery service come and collect the item from there (cue bored delivery service employee and confused homeowner accepting to pass on the delivery of the item).
But then again....
Like any fraud of this type, you have to be rather gullible to fall for becoming a "parcel mule". Because lots of African orphanages buy DVD players and mobile phones for their occupants....
I guess people just WANT to believe that everyone else tries to do the right thing.
Just tapping into a rich vein..
of human stupidity.
"Yes, my love, the starving orphans really do need those 10 DVD players, 30 mobile phones and the 8 top of the range plasma TV's. Please forward these on to me as soon as possible. Once I have received them I shall send you the airline tickets so you can come and see how happy you have made me, I mean them."
lack of imagination
Anybody who would fall for the initial line is not only gullible and eager to please, but not very bright. I have had interesting conversations with Americans who cannot conceive -- really are flabbergasted and can't imagine -- just basic life-style differences such as toilets flushed with a chain (UK, old-style), places on earth where you can't drink water out of the tap (fun in Pakistan) and so on. They really do see everybody being just like themselves, having what they have, doing what they do, or so mind-boggling different that it cannot be imagined (Muslims living in, say, Syria or the Lebanon being a cloud of grey unknowableness). So I can accept that they really do think kids in African orphanages need mobiles phones, DVD players, etc.
Yes they are sad losers, but not untypical. I have singled out Americans here, but could fine the same comatose imagination cells in other brains.
fake 'job' ads
Nothing fake about the job, lugging parcels around is hard work. OK, the risk / reward relationship is a bit skewed, but it's working for the man ...
This, or something like it, was on the BBC's "The Real Hustle" programme some time ago. The mark is offered an easy job: collect a parcel from a PO box, re-wrap it without examining the contents and send it on or redeliver it to a different address. Essentially, they get paid to take all the risks: the PO box to which any dodgy goods may be traced is rented in the name of the mark, who does not know -- and therefore cannot reveal -- the real identity of the ultimate recipient.
The question you have to ask yourself is, why would somebody be so desperate not to have to do something so simple that they'd be prepared to pay somebody else over the odds to do it on their behalf?
Dumb and dumber
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If it runs on a computer it's a program. If it is shown on a British television channel, it's a programme.