Is my at home job legal?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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