KPRC 2 Investigates: Phony job left mom out nearly $3,000

FBI says thieves are targeting people looking for work from home jobs

The FBI says thieves are targeting people looking for work from home jobs.

People hoping to make extra money during the holidays are finding out the job they landed isn’t going to pay. In a time when more people are looking for work-from-home positions, one job opportunity seemed like the real deal. One mom wanted to share her story in hopes of helping others. KPRC 2 Investigates explains how these potential employees are being tricked.

“I’ve got two kids at home. So it was just it was more feasible for me,” says single mom Lacey Calder.

Calder was surprised to have a company reach out to her on the job site Indeed.

KPRC 2 Investigates phony job causes mom to lose nearly $3,000 and get kicked out of her home. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

“They told me, you know, $2,200 a month plus $50 a package that you send out successfully,” said Calder.

The job with Satori Parcel, LLC was simple. Calder says all she was told was she had reship products sent to her home. Just days after signing up, the packages started arriving to her home.

“I got $1,000 computer like seven GoPros, eight, nine and 10, 11 kitchen sinks. It was just random things,” she said.

The company’s official-looking portal included training and a dashboard to track her work. This was also the location where Lacey uploaded all of her private information including W2 forms, her driver’s license and Social Security card.

“They had a dashboard that we would sign on to and it would stay the packages, and then we’d accept it. We’d get it sent to our home. We checked, make sure it was good. package it up and take it back with the label. We had like, less than 24 hours to do it,” said Calder.

KPRC 2 Investigates phony job website. Company has interactive dashboard, makes employees feel like it's the real deal. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Calder needed the money to pay rent, so she quickly got to work. But when payday came she says all communication stopped.

“All of a sudden, I couldn’t get into my dashboard and they didn’t answer the phones, or email me back,” said Calder.

A recent alert from the Better Business Bureau warns job seekers about Satori Parcel. The BBB suspects the victims are used to traffic stolen goods without realizing what they are doing.

Phony job red flags

  • The company doesn’t do an in-person or video interview.
  • The email domain name doesn’t match the company name and instead comes from a Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail account, for example.
  • Quickly after first contact, they ask for personal identifying information such as a driver’s license number and Social Security number.
  • Company asks for money up-front, or in this case, requires you to pay for shipping costs with the promise of future reimbursement.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center shows crimes like this are on the rise, with these companies also using employee personal information for other types of fraud. In some cases, the employee’s personal information was used to apply for unemployment benefits.

“There’s a lot of scams out there,” said Calder. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Calder is now out $2,900 dollars plus the shipping supplies she bought. This came at an awful time and caused her to miss rent payments. Calder was eventually kicked out of her home.

“I’m a single mom. So I don’t really make that much as it is,” said Calder.

We tried reaching out to Satori Parcels, but the number we had was no longer working. Our computer security also blocked us from accessing the website.

KPRC 2 Investigates phony job website. Mom loses nearly $3,000 working for company that never paid her. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

How do I know if a company I want to work for is real?

So far in 2021, more than 3,000 job rip-offs have been reported to BBB Scam Tracker. While it’s not always easy to know if a job opportunity is legit, you can search the BBB website to see if a company has complaints filed against them. You can also check reviews on places like Google and Yelp.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.