Experts and Better Business Bureau warn of work-from-home scams

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Better Business Bureau(BBB) is warning consumers about Sinoway Operations USA LLC work-from-home positions to repackage boxes. Consumers have alleged that after 30 days of work, their promised pay is not received and all communication is stopped.

Since January 2021, BBB has received several Scam Tracker reports on Sinoway Operations USA LLC. One complainant stated he had posted his resume online, but did not apply directly with the company. The consumers state the company contacts them by email with a work-from-home job opportunity. After a quick phone interview and job offer, the new hires are asked to supply their banking information, including a w-4, to set up direct deposit. The job is said to pay $2,000 plus $40.00 for each mailed package, on the 30th day of employment.

The complainants told BBB the company shipped boxes to their home asking them to “repackage and reship packages using their provided labels”. They state they were to take off the shipping label, inspect the packages, upload pictures online of the products, login to a dashboard to print out a new shipping label and then take the packages to FedEx or UPS to ship to a new destination. One consumer stated an item he received was an ancient coin from another consumer across the country, while another received Dell computers.

None of the consumers received the promised payment for completed work at the end of their first month of employment. One complainant stated her unpaid work totaled $2,560.00. Instead, the company stopped returning calls and emails and locked them out of the dashboard for shipping labels.

“Job seekers need to be especially guarded during this time,” said Frank Cilona, president & CEO of BBB serving Canton Region & Greater West Virginia. “With the pandemic keeping people home and looking for employment, work-from-home positions are even more tempting, but BBB has seen an increase in reported employment scams during 2020.”

BBB confirmed the address given for the company, 945 King St section B416, Fairmont ,WV 26554, is an actual address, however section B of the warehouse is currently sits empty, the building’s leasing company said.

945 King Street Fairmont ,WV

Doug Fodeman is the Executive Director of TheDailyScam.com. He and his friend have been investigating scam companies like this across the nation for over eight years. Fodeman said all the companies he investigates turn out to be scams and that a quality control work-from-home jobs don’t exist anywhere.  

“The reason we do this is because no one else is,” Fodeman said. “No one is educating the public about the scams targeting them.  So, I do this because it just drives me crazy that there are such leaches taking advantage of people out there and taking advantage of people, especially, who are the most vulnerable.” 

The job title can even vary. Some companies call it a quality control inspector, packing specialist, logistics manager, materials manager and more. Fodeman said people need to look out for red flags when these companies reach out to them for job opportunities. 

“There’s no company on this planet, none, that is going to hire you based entirely on a 30 to 60 or 90-minute text-based interview without checking your references, without one single video call, let alone a telephone call,” Fodeman said. “If you can’t video chat, and insist on video chat, with the people that are interested in hiring and are interviewing you, it’s done. This is a scam. Move on.” 

Fodeman’s other red flags are when the job is exclusively work from home or when the company said it’s a work from home position until their new office is built.  

The company website, which BBB could not find during an internet search, was given to one of the
complainants as “proof” the company was not a scam. BBB’s review of the website, www.sinowayusa.com, found the “Consulting Team” photos have been borrowed from the internet from actual people, but not whom the website purports. BBB also found the customer review photos to be stock photos from the internet and the verbiage from the reviews were found on another shipping website. According to whois.com, the website was registered in January 2021.

BBB tips for consumers looking for work-from-home opportunities:
Pay attention to unusual procedures. Job offers without interviews are a red flag of employment
scams. Be very suspicious if an unfamiliar “employer” or recruiter asks for your Social Security number, birth date, bank account number, or other private information that could be used to steal your identity. Always be wary of work-from-home, package reshipment, and secret shopper positions. A company sending you items in somebody else’s name, then asking you to reship them, ask yourself – why aren’t they just doing it themselves?
Ask questions. If you want to take advantage of a work-from-home opportunity, you’ll need to do your research. The FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule has safeguards in place to make sure you have the information you need to tell whether a work-at-home opportunity is a risky business. Under the Rule, sellers have to give you a one-page disclosure document that offers key pieces of information about the opportunity. Use the information in the disclosure document to fact-check what the seller tells you. Get as much information as you can about the job before accepting the offer.
Report the bad actors. You can report employment, reshipping and work-at-home scams
to BBB ScamTracker, the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and your state’s
Attorney General.

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