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Scam Alert - Abandoned Package

Apparently-From: Allen Larged (
Subject: [Bulk] Your Abandoned Package For Delivery
Addressed To: unknown

Scam text below )

Okay, first and most obvious scam flag flying here: you're being asked to partake in a crime (namely, theft). You're stealing not only from this anonymous diplomat, but also the US Treasury (who do tend to be a tad tetchy and unreasonable about such things), and probably also from the citizens of the country the diplomat hailed from. A complete stranger who asks you to participate in a crime on first introduction does not necessarily have your best interests at heart.

Of course, this is assuming the box and/or the money exist in the first place, which, of course, they don't. If you google on the search string "abandoned package scam" you'll find lots of copies of the above email, listing just about every airport in the USA.

Even if the box did exist, I'd be strongly advising you to first check the contents. It will do you absolutely no good at all to pay $3700 USD to receive a 110kg box of shredded paper. Or a box full of a currency which is defunct (such as Zimbabwean dollars - the Zimbabwean government phased out their currency starting in 2009 - they're currently buying back the currency until 30 September this year) or practically worthless (Iranian rials, Vietnamese dong, etc).

Basically, this is a variation on the good old "advanced fee fraud" or "Spanish prisoner" trick. As the Spanish Prisoner, this con has been around since the sixteenth century, so it certainly has legs. It's based on essentially getting someone to pay serious money today in the hope of reward tomorrow.

As always, the main thing you need to beat the scammer is a sense of proportion and hubris - in this case, why would some diplomat from who-knows-where in Africa have MY name as the consignee for a box full of money? Other questions you might want to ask include: if this thing had my details as a consignee, why has it been sitting around in a warehouse in $US_STATE for ages, apparently abandoned? Why wasn't it just forwarded on to me directly on a cash-on-delivery basis? Surely the airport actually needs the space a 110kg package would be occupying. How does this person know the box contains money? (did they already open it? If so, why shouldn't I presume they helped themselves to their 30% share of the proceeds straight up?). This story has plot holes galore - going through and spotting them is a good education in the process of narrative creation.

Either way, it's a scam. Don't contact the person back, don't send them your details, and for heaven's sake, don't send them any money.

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