Fact Check

Package Pick-Up Scam

Scammers dupe victims into paying 'security keeping fees' to receive courier parcels supposedly containing large checks or other valuables.

Published Dec 10, 2008

 (vchal / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via vchal / Shutterstock.com
Scammers dupe victims into paying "security keeping fees" to receive courier parcels supposedly containing large checks or other valuables.

The lure of something for (next to) nothing will always prove a potent one, as the success of ripoff messages like the following demonstrates:

I have just deposited your Bank Draft of USD 800,000,00 United state dollars to the Fedex Delivery Services here in West Africa. Contact them with your informations via E-mail: fedexcourierservice0119@hotmail.com
Tel: +234-803-679-0624,
Shipment Code: CPEL/OWN/9856,
Parcel Number: EG2272

The only fee to be paid again by you is their security safe keeping fee of (180 dollars) only.

Miss Jane Mary

Dear Customer,

We have been waiting for you to contact us for your Package that is been registered with us for shipping to your residential location. We had thought that your sender gave you our contact details. It may interest you to know that a letter is also added to your package.

However, we cannot quote its content to you via email for privacy reasons. We understand that the content of your package itself is a Bank Draft worth of $268,000.00 (Two Hundred And Sixty-Eight Thousand US Dollars). As you know, FedEx does not ship money in CASH or in CHEQUES but BANK DRAFTS are shippable. The package is registered with us for mailing by your colleague as claimed, and your colleague explained that he is here in West Africa for a three (3) month Survey Project as he works with a construction firm in West Africa. We are sending you this email because your package is been registered on a Special Order.

What you have to do, is to contact our Delivery Department for immediate dispatch of your package to your residential address. Note that as soon as our Delivery Team confirms your information, it will take three (3) working days (72Hrs) for your package to arrive its designated destination. For your information, the VAT & Shipping charges as well as Insurance fees have been paid by your colleague before your package was registered. Note that the payment that is made on the Insurance, Premium & Clearance Certificates, are to certify that the Bank Draft is not a Drug Affiliated Fund (DAF) neither is it funds to sponsor Terrorism in your country.

This will help you avoid any form of query from the Monetary Authority of your country. However, you will have to pay a sum of $206 USD to the FedEx Delivery Department being full payment for the Security Keeping Fee of the FedEx Company as stated in our privacy terms & condition page.

Also be informed that your colleague wished to pay for the Security Keeping charges, but we do not accept such payments considering the fact that all items & packages that is registered with us have a time limitation and we cannot accept payment without knowing when you will be picking up the package or even respond to us. So we cannot take the risk to have accepted such a payment incase of any possible demurrage. Kindly note that your colleague did not leave us with any further information. We hope that you respond to us as soon as possible because if you fail to respond until the expiry date of the foremost package, we may refer the package to the British Commission for Welfare as the package do not have a return address. Kindly contact the delivery department (FedEx Delivery Post) with the details given below:

Contact Person: Mr.John Clark.
Tel: +234-703-686 3627.

Kindly complete the below information and send it to the email address given above. This is mandatory to reconfirm your Postal address and telephone numbers.


As soon as your details are received, our delivery team will give you the necessary payment procedure so that you can effect the payment for the Security Keeping Fees. As soon as they confirm your payment of $206 USD, they shall immediately dispatch your package to the designated address. It usually takes 72 Hours being an express delivery service. Note that we were not instructed to email you, but due to the high priority of your package we had to inform you as your sender did not leave us with his phone number because he stated that he just arrived England and he was not on
phone yet.

We indeed personally sealed your Bank Draft and we found your email contact in the attached letter as the recipient of the foremost package. Ensure to contact the delivery department with the email address and ensure to fill the above form as well to enable successful reconfirmation.

All responses must be forwarded to

Yours Faithfully,
Mrs. Margaret Blaire.
FedEx Online Management Team.
All rights reserved.�1995-2008 FedEx.

Dear Friend,
Greetings to you & your Family.

I have been waiting for you since to contact me for your Confirmable Bank Draft of (750,000.00) United States Dollars, but I did not hear from you since that time, Then I went and deposited the Draft with FEDEX DELIVERY COURIER SERVICE in west Africa before I traveled out of the country for a short Course and I will not come back till next the year. What you have to do now is to contact the FEDEX DELIVERY COURIER SERVICE COMPANY as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your package to you because of the expiring date.

For your information, I have paid for the delivering Charges, and Insurance fee. The only money you will send to the FEDEX COURIER SERVICE COMPANY for deliver your package direct to your postal Address in your country is ($150) only being their Security Keeping Fee of the Courier Company so far.

Again, don't be deceived by anybody to pay any other money except $150, I would have paid that but they said no because they don't know when you will contact them and in case of demurrage. You have to contact the FedEx courier Service Company now for the delivery of your package with this information bellow.

Email Address: fedexexppservice@live.com
Telephone: +234-1-760-4196
Telephone: +234-803-705-6217
Registration No; Eg2272
Code Number::01721457

Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your Postal address and Direct telephone number to them again to avoid any mistake on the Delivery and Let me repeat once more, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoid any further delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping fee of $150 for their immediate action. You should also let me know through email as soon as you receive your package. Note. The FEDEX DELIVERY COURIER SERVICE COMPANY doesn't know the contents of the Box. I registered it as a Box of an African cloth. They don't know that it contains money. This is to avoid them delaying with the Box. Don't let them know what it contains. I am waiting for your urgent response. Please go ahead now and contact them immediately with information above.

Yours Faithfully,
Rev David White

Acting on the belief they'll soon be getting their hands on a package that contains a check, a money order, a bank draft for a large sum, or some other valuable item, the unwary are duped into forking over "security keeping fees" to con artists representing themselves as agents of courier companies holding such parcels for delivery. But of course, the promised treasures do not exist, nor do the payments extracted from gullible victims end up with any legitimate courier or parcel delivery company — any monies paid out go straight into the pockets of the persons running the cons.

While in the U.S. this fraud generally presents FedEx as the courier company demanding a "security keeping fee" before it will release the parcel to its intended recipient, other shippers such as UPS and DHL have also been named. The e-mailed come-ons meant to trick new victims out of their cash are typically generously festooned with the name and logo of whichever delivery company is mentioned in the fraudulent message as the one demanding the fee. Sometimes photographs of a box said to be the package that is being held in transit are included in an effort to bolster the believability of the tale being told.

Names of respected shipping entities are invoked in this boondoggle solely to provide the attempt to defraud with the appearance of credibility. The real FedEx, UPS, and DHL have nothing to do with these non-existent parcels, nor do they charge a "security keeping fee" on packages they've accepted for shipment.

While this scam has been hitting the inbox hard in December 2008, we first encountered a non-FedEx version of it in May 2007 and spotted the first FedEx version in October 2007. A DHL version went through Australia in July 2008.

Those being entreated to pony up a "security keeping fee" are asked for a specific dollar amount, usually somewhere between $150 and $300 with the $206 to $210 range being common. Said remuneration is to be made via wire transfer, which is a favored cash harvesting mode of con artists the world over since senders have some recourse for recovering payments made by credit card or check but little recourse for recovering payments made by wire transfer.

The delivery company DHL says about this con that:

It has been brought to our attention that attempts have been made to defraud Internet shoppers by unauthorised use of the DHL name and brand, via e-mail communications and graphics which appear, on the surface, to originate from DHL.

The communications concern the sale of consumer goods over the Internet, where payment may be requested by money transfer before the goods will be delivered. Please be aware that DHL does not in general get involved in collecting payment from its customers for goods which it transports. In general, DHL only collects money due to DHL (for the shipping costs).

FedEx provides similar information about the frauds being perpetrated with its name:

FedEx does not request, via unsolicited mail or email, payment or personal information in return for goods in transit or in FedEx custody. If you receive any of these or similar communications, do not reply or cooperate with the sender.

Variants of e-mails used in this scam can be found on FedEx's web page of examples.


Blacktown Advocate.   "Saga of African Money Goes On."     9 July 2008   (p. 4).

[Allentown] Morning Call.   "DHL Lottery Scam Delivered to Inboxes."     6 October 2008   (p. B3).

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