Don't become the catch of the day! Internet scammers use the promise of large sums of money as the bait to hook unwitting victims
Subject: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (A package for you)The sole purpose of this initial email is to get the recipient to reply. The scammers randomly distribute thousands of identical emails using long lists of email addresses harvested from various sources. Many of the emails will bounce because the email address is no longer valid or the mailbox is full. Many others will sit unread in webmail accounts that are rarely accessed. Many recipients who do get the email, will quickly recognize it as a scam attempt and delete it without reply. Others may be unsure, but are wise enough to do some research and will therefore find out that the message is a scam attempt before replying. However, just a few will be tricked into believing the claims in the email and will reply as instructed.
A Diplomat named Bruno Hans has a package for you. I am writing to confirm if you are aware of the delivery of the package to you.
Kindly affirm that you are aware of the delivery of the package so that he can be allowed to do so. Endeavor to send your complete address with city name and zip code in your response to this mail.
W. Ralph Basham
Commissioner U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Attn: [Name Removed],Once the potential victim has taken the bait, the scammers then begin to reel him in by claiming that a large consignment of cash is his for the taking if only he will pay an upfront fee of $250 for an "Origin of Funds Certificate". To further the fragile illusion of legitimacy, the scammers included the following photographs of the "consignment" in the email. (I have added the words "Image used in scam email" to help prevent others scammers from stealing and using these photographs):
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your affirmation and to inform you of the latest development as regards the delivery of your Consignment to your location.
While scanning the Consignment,our cash track machine detected that the content of the Consignment that the Diplomat (Bruno Hans) is delivering to you is cash.
It is a crime to bring in money (over US$10,000) into the UNITED STATES without proper documentations and clearance because it shows that the money is either being smuggled into the country or the source of the funds is questionable. It is very important that all the relevant documentations needed to authenticate the source of the funds are provided to prove that the funds were earned legitimately in accordance with the PATRIOT ACT so that the FBI, IRS and Homeland Security will not come knocking at your door.
In lieu of the above,It is therefore mandatory that you provide the Origin of Funds Certificate (O.O.F) to prove that the funds have no links with any form of illegality.
Being the beneficiary of the Consignment, the Origin of Funds Certificate (O.O.F) is the only way of confirming the source of the funds and it is your responsibility to provide the Certificate before the Diplomat will be allowed to complete the delivery to you .
The Diplomat's previous Flight Details shows that he came from London,United Kingdom.
We were informed that the beneficiary of the Consignment will pay for the Certificate and the cost of this documentation is $250 Dollars
You have to pay this fee directly to them via Western Union in the name stated below:
Name: Andrew McCollum
Address; London, United Kingdom.
After paying the Fee,send the following payment information
1. Sender's Name and Address
2. Amount Sent
3. Reference Number
Upon the receipt of the payment information,the Certificate will be made out in your name by the London Authority, scanned and sent immediately via email to us so that the Diplomat will be allowed to complete the delivery of your Consignment to you.
Failure to pay for this documentation is a confirmation that you wanted to smuggle the funds into the country which is a federal offense and a gross violation of the the Patriot Act.
and we have contacted the relevant Authorities in that country to inquire about the process of getting the Certificate immediately.It is therefore in your best interest that you pay for the Certificate as instructed immediately as the consequences of refusing is very severe.
W. Ralph Basham
U.S Customs and Border Protection
Last updated: 4th February 2009
First published: 4th February 2009
Write-up by Brett M. Christensen