VALRICO, Fla. - Authorities with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office are looking into what's believed to be a case involving a shipping scam. A Valrico couple seems to have gotten caught up in the middle of it, without even knowing.
Anthony and Jade Gathitu said two weeks ago, they started receiving packages with high-end items. However, they never ordered them. According to the couple, they then received emails explaining how to re-ship the packages. They knew then something was suspicious and contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Anthony believes it all started when he applied for a job with a shipping company he found online, about a year ago. He supplied his personal information, but he said he never ended up working for them. He didn't think about the company until the boxes started showing up.
"Never in a million years did I think I'd fall prey for this," said Anthony.
The Gathitus have received about a dozen packages with various items. Things including i-Pads, shoes, a horse saddle, even a car engine and wipers.
"It's scary because you know that the identity of somebody has been stolen and you're being used as the person that needs the gift," said Jade, Anthony's wife.
Corporal Bruce Crumpler, with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, said these types of shipping scams have been around for quite some time, however they're not widespread in the county. He added that many times people apply for these work from home shipping jobs thinking they're legit, but they're not.
"They're receiving packages from all over the country in order to re-ship them, however the items that are coming to their residence are purchased by stolen credit cards," said Cpl. Crumpler.
Gathitus said someone also opened a credit card in their name, one used to buy some of the items they received. They also think it's linked to the fake shipping company. For this couple, the whole ordeal has been frustrating.
"It's a total nightmare. Because now we're stuck with the burden of proof," they said.
"I don't want it ending up in our credit report or as part of an investigation that we had nothing to do with," added Anthony.
The Gathitus have also contacted the Postal Inspector and the FBI. They want others to be aware this scam is out there.