iPhone International Shipping Scam

DHL iPhone Case iPhone DHL Shipment Case

Sending iPhones to your fiancé oversees? Expect us to ask a few questions…

Just another international package shipment.
   A long time customer walks into the retail mail store and needs to ship a package to some country oversees. DHL is one of the better shippers to use for high dollar items travelling internationally so we start to look up prices. Meanwhile, we chat with him and learn through the standard customs questions that he is shipping 4 iPhones to his fiance. The red flag is immediate. “How long have you known her?” we ask followed by “Have you had a chance to meet her yet?” The answers are almost always less than a year and no.

Mail Fraud Document

Mail Fraud

   Federal mail fraud is one of the most common federally charged crimes. It is widely applicable to anyone trying to commit fraud using the federal mail service, email, UPS, FedEx or money wire transfer. Scammers located overseas don’t care. They are mostly untouchable. Because the crime that is about to be committed crosses international boarders and crosses multiple law jurisdictions there is virtually no way the scammer will be located, let alone prosecuted. To track the scammer down you would have to find them and the address is likely a relay. A place to ship packages and have them shipped to another address. Scammers use them frequently to add an extra layer of complexity to finding them. For more information on the return shipping options:

What's Really Going On.
   The iPhone fiancé scam uses relays and good will to steal phones from would be suiters. This is one of the more common scams making the rounds these days. People meet in online forums, facebook or Instagram and strike up a relationship. Video chatting is sometimes involved but most of the time it’s just texting and exchanging pictures. Pretty soon the couple is “dating” and in an emotionally committed relationship. It’s at this point that the person overseas asks for help. See their family had their phones stolen… or there is a sick relative that is poor and has no way to communicate with their loved ones… or some other plausible issue. Either way the target is about to offer to buy them phones and ship them over. They spend thousands of dollars on a person they will never meet. In the extreme cases scammers have been known to get tens of thousands of dollars from their targets before the target wants to meet and realizes it’s too late.

How Often Does this Really Happen?
  In talking with store other shipping store owners the scenario above is a weekly occurrence. We do our best to warn customers but by the time they are shipping phones or jewelry or trying to ship cash they are head over heals in love and not wanting to hear our advice. Hopefully, in reading this before you get to that point you can avoid it all together.

I Was a Victim of the Scam. Now What?
  If you shipped the package with DHL, FedEx or UPS and it is still in transit you may be able to stop it from reaching its final destination. You are encouraged to contact the carrier directly if you shipped it yourself or go back to the store you shipped with and ask them to put a redirect on the package. If the package has been delivered already you are likely out of luck. A few numbers of government agencies are listed below that you can contact in order to try and prevent the next person from becoming a victim.

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