Scam prevention expert Sid Kirchheimer, author of Scam Proof Your Life, says Shannon is lucky she didn't get arrested. "Hundreds of people get arrested each year on charges of receiving stolen goods," he says. "If you are shipping these goods via the United States Postal Service, you're also liable to be arrested on mail fraud charges."
Sid says she's also lucky she didn't give the scammers her bank account information. "Once they have that, you don't get any money, but they take what's in your account," he says.
Work-at-home scams are some of the most popular cons these days, according to Sid. They can either be reshipping scams—which is what Shannon fell for—or check-processing scams.
In the second scenario, con artists create an overseas company. Then, they mail unsuspecting Americans big packets of checks—usually in amounts under $5,000 to avoid raising the ire of banks—and ask them to deposit the checks into their accounts and wire them the money, Sid says.
"It takes the banks about two weeks to authenticate these checks. After you make that wire, the money you've sent is gone," he says. "The checks come back. They bounce. [And] you're held liable, and you could be arrested for counterfeiting charges."