ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Federal investigators believe thieves are using the internet mail to steal thousands of dollars from victims.
Officials said the scheme starts with someone getting hired to work from home by stuffing envelopes with checks and letters and dropping them off at the post office.
After about a month, victims never receive a paycheck, with the checks they dropped off being the second part of the thieves' scheme.
"They stuff these envelopes with these counterfeit checks with this bogus postage, and they drop in the mail, which ultimately gets to the victim," said Brad Kramer, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The second set of victims who receive the packet believe they're being hired as mystery shoppers. Those victims will deposit the bogus checks and are told to keep some of the money and spend the rest on their shopping experience, often with gift cards.
Victims will then be asked to send a review of their shopping experience and photos of the gift cards to the thieves.
They don't find out until after they spent the money that the check was fake.
The Federal Trade Commission warned about the scheme in 2018.
The Postal Inspection Service said that if someone isn't sure a check is legitimate, they should reach out to their local law enforcement.
Officials said the suspects are difficult to catch since it's done online and could be based overseas.
Cox Media Group