TAMPA (FOX 13) - If you've ever wondered how crime rings use stolen credit card numbers to rip off consumers without their knowledge, Pasco County's Jim Coffey can help explain. He was duped into participating in a global scam last year, and unwanted packages piled up at his front door for weeks.
He was retired and looking for part-time work from home. After posting his resume on some job sites, a woman who claimed she was a manager with a well-known company called McKinsey & Company offered him a job as a stay-at-home purchasing manager. She instructed him to accept package deliveries, remove the invoices and re-ship them to others.
But we confirmed through the real McKinsey & Company in New York that it has nothing to do with this. A spokeswoman told us it's a scam: Crooks are just using the McKinsey name to trick people into participating in their scam.
International crime rings order stuff with stolen credit card numbers, then ship to people who have no idea they're laundering stolen goods.
As part of his fake job duties, Jim was told to strip down the packages, take out the invoices, and unwittingly destroy evidence of fraud, before sending them to another man -- who the FBI says may have been tricked by the same global crime ring into selling or shipping it again.
"I was a middleman, unknowing that I was involved in an operation that was cheating people," Coffey said.
FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier says the profits and packages in this scam tend to go overseas.
"Today it is very prolific, it is all over," he said. "The packages are often forwarded to Eastern Europe, Russia, and Romania."
Couvertier added that countless victims pay for the goods, because they do not check and challenge bogus charges on their credit statements.
"And if the purchase is small enough, most people doubt themselves and say, 'OK, I must have made that purchase or my wife or someone in family may have made as well,'" he said.
Couvertier stressed Jim Coffey did the right thing by sharing his experience and reporting it to law enforcement. And, like anyone who's been caught up in this, he could get burned again because the crooks have his personal information from the fake job application.
"They can then grab new credit cards under that person's name as well, and continue the cycle of the criminal activity," Couvertier added.