Is my at home job legal?

I was recently hired to a job to receive packages and open them to check for damage then send them to customers. However, after receiving the first package, it has someone else’s name on it. The company said yes, it should. Then after checking the package they sent me the shipping label to send out the package. However, the shipping label has someone else’s name on it other than the first one. How do I know if this is a scam or if I will get in trouble for doing this?

Asked on June 14, 2017 under Business Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Can you *know* it's a scam? Not 100%. But is there any reasonable explanation for why you're getting a package with name 1 on it, opening it, then sending it to name 2? Not really--one logical explanation is they are diverting packages for person 1 to person 2, which would be stealing. Another logical explanation is that this is smuggling--maybe there are drugs or contraband in the packages, and they are addressed to person 1, sent to you, person 2, and then reshipped by you to person 3 to make them difficult to track.
Also, why would they have packages opened and checked for damage after sealing them up? Wouldn't damage checks be done *before* sealing them for shipping (to you)? And why are they being checked by you at your home, instead by staff at the warehouse or distribution center? 
There is too much here that does not make sense--obviously, something has set off your suspicions, or you would not be asking the question. (I.e. when someone has an obviously legitimate job, they don't ask other people if it is legal--it's only when they suspectthat it is not legal that they ask.) Trust your instincts: if you are uncomfortable, stop doing this. Otherwise, if it turns out to criminal, if you continue to participate despite suspecting that something is illegal, you could face liability as an accomplice.


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