Is this a resend scam

Warning of a scam with foreign parcels

The initial situation: A person from abroad has stolen my trust and allegedly needs help with the customs clearance of a package to Germany. Can that really be true?

In 2015, some Paketda users reported cases in which an alleged soldier from Afghanistan had contacted them. The soldier probably stole the trust of the later victim of the fraud over a long period of time. To prove his identity and integrity, the soldier even sent copies of his ID. These are, however, forgeries that a fraudster used to fake the soldier's story.

One day the fraudster used the fictional character to ask the victim of the fraud to help clear a package through customs. More precisely: The soldier wanted to give his family a gift abroad and sent expensive goods for this purpose. In other cases of fraud, the soldier wanted to send some items home from the war zone himself. Or the soldier wanted to please his victim and pretended to send gifts to Germany.

Characteristic of all cases is an alleged customs clearance of the goods. The soldier or the fraudster pretends to be in an awkward position because the shipment is stuck at customs or the parcel service. A sum of money must be paid so that the recipient receives the goods. And because the story is so heartwarming, the victim of fraud agrees to help the soldier.

Basically, it is correct that goods from non-EU countries have to be cleared and this costs fees. However, you should never pay customs duties for strangers! Firstly, this is unusual because a request for payment is usually sent directly from customs to the recipient. Second, the alleged customs duties in fraud cases are unrealistically high and amount to several hundred dollars. Incidentally, this is also an indicator of fraud: When importing into Germany, no taxes or customs duties are calculated in dollars, but in euros.

In order to estimate whether taxes + customs are realistic, calculate with 25% to a maximum of 40% of the value of the goods. More information here in the customs calculator.

By the way: soldiers in war zones can use the so-called field post. The field post is operated by the postal company of the respective home country. For example, German soldiers send their mail from Afghanistan directly with Deutsche Post / DHL, which has a branch on the barracks grounds (branch employees are soldiers).

It is an unbelievable story when a soldier pretends to be sending a package with a different postal company than that of his home country.

The Paketda editors recommend never transferring money to people you don't know personally. Unfortunately, fraudsters are very clever at gaining trust. In a few months the soldier scam will probably be out of date and a new scam will be available. Perhaps a father of a family vacationing in North Korea who was locked up for no reason and wants to send his family his suitcases home. Sounds hair-raising, but if only 1 person in 100,000 falls for it, the scammers have already made a deal.

Most of the time it is not just a one-off payment of "customs duties". When the scammers have caught a victim, they invent more and more reasons why the package cannot be forwarded without further payment. If you fell for this scam, break off contact immediately, make no further payments, and do not let emails soften you. Experience has shown that the money is lost or in a distant country from where it cannot be retrieved.

How do I recognize cases of fraud?

  • Someone is asking for money because a package is said to be stuck at customs. Almost always a lie for shipments within the EU.
  • Someone is asking for an unusually large amount of money. Rule of thumb: If the customs fee is more than 25% of the value of the package, there is a risk of fraud.
  • Customs fees are paid in cash at the customs office when a customer picks up a package there. Private customers do not make transfers to customs.
  • Become suspicious when you are supposed to transfer alleged customs fees to the account of a private person or a trustee. Unusual!

► Also read our guide: Stop the package because of fraud.