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The parcel courier email scheme involves the supposed use of various national and international level parcel providers such as DHL, UPS, FedEx and the USPS. Often, the victim is directly emailed by the subject(s) following online bidding on auction sites.
Most of the scams follow a general pattern which includes the following elements:
- The subject instructs the buyer to provide shipping information such as name and address.
- The subject informs the buyer that the item will be available at the selected parcel provider in the buyer's name and address, thereby, identifying the intended receiver.
- The selected parcel provider checks the item and purchase documents to guarantee everything is in order.
- The selected parcel provider sends the buyer delivery notification verifying their receipt of the item.
- The buyer is instructed by the subject to go to an electronic funds transfer medium, such as Western Union, and make a funds transfer in the subject's name and in the amount of the purchase price.
- After the funds transfer, the buyer is instructed by the subject to forward the selected parcel provider the funds transfer identification number, as well as their name and address associated with the transaction.
- The subject informs the buyer the parcel provider will verify payment information and complete the delivery process.
- Upon completion of delivery and inspection of the item(s) by the receiver, the buyer provides the parcel provider funds transfer information, thus, allowing the seller to receive his funds.