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May 21, 2020

Media contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND - Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem warns that scam artists are taking advantage of the current unemployment crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic to create bogus websites offering phony “work from home” opportunities.

One recently reported scam website uses a street address in Bismarck, ND. The fake business, Nimcare Insurance ( claims to be located in downtown Bismarck. There is no such company in Bismarck – or anywhere else in North Dakota. The business is a sham.

In the work from home scam, the unsuspecting victim clicks on a link in a spam email or online ad, completes the “application” and is quickly offered a job. The job titles vary, but often include “quality control” or “inventory inspection” duties. The most common is a “re-shipping” scam where the victim is “hired” to pick up returned merchandise from UPS/Fed Ex, inspect it, and create a new shipping label. In fact, the victims are being used to receive and ship stolen or counterfeit merchandise, and become an unwitting accomplice to a crime.

Other common work from home scams include the “mystery shopper” and the “car wrap” scams, where the victim receives a check along with instructions on what to do with the check to complete the transaction. The checks are counterfeit. Days or weeks after cashing the check, it will bounce. Any money the victim kept now disappears and is gone. On top of that, the victim may be on the hook for paying the bank back for the fake check. Victims report that because they received a check up front, they did not realize it was a scam until it was too late.

The “fake business website” scam has been around for many years. It is common for scam artists to use fake websites to trick people into making online payments for advertised deals on items that do not exist. The scammers add a fake street address or use the actual address of an unsuspecting business to make it appear there is a physical location associated with the website.  According to Stenehjem, fake business websites are becoming more common.

“Never assume a business website and business address you are unfamiliar with are legitimate or you could become the next scam victim and lose your money,” said Stenehjem.

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