FBI Agent and Nigerian shipping fraud case

Today's Merchant911.org's email list mentions Yahoo coverage of an FBI agent helping to break a big Nigerian shipping scam case. Merchant911.org itself is of help to Internet merchants in combatting fraudulent e-commerce attempts. Good stuff.

Added: Looks like the above Yahoo link has expired, so here are:

PLEASE NOTE: I wrote the one-paragraph post above in 2005 mentioning articles I'd read. Since then, there have been a number of emails and requests from people who have encountered problems with this kind of thing. Since I am not not a lawyer nor an expert in this, my best and only recommendation is to contact your local authorities.

» Local FBI Offices

43 Comments to "FBI Agent and Nigerian shipping fraud case"

  1. barb spangler says:

    i have just been a victim of the nigerian scams involving shipping productss and the checks that are fake… i have reported it but seems no one cares , i have email addresses and i have a phone # that one called me from by telerelay thru att.

  2. DianeV says:

    Sad to hear it, Barb. I'd highly recommend looking into Merchant911.org. Their purpose is to help merchants protect themselves against credit card fraud, and membership is free. The mailing list gives one an idea of what to look for.

  3. Anna says:

    i think i might be a victime of shipping fraud. What can I do to protect myself. I am scared. Will I be responible for payment of these items. They were shipped to my work. What can i do?

  4. DianeV says:

    Anna, I'm not quite sure where one starts with something like this. I'd document everything, and contact your local FBI office. If nothing else, they can give you an idea of what to do.

    It might help to join merchant911.org, too, where you'd find more information than I can give.

  5. Yvonda Williams says:

    I am very worried about this particular email address disturbing my contact address with lot of spam mail and i want you to please deactivate the email address for God sake that will satisfy me alot and willing to see that the mails are not received from this address anymore here is the email address below this mail:

  6. DianeV says:

    Hm. What particular email address…?

    The email address you gave (which I deleted from your comment so that it would not be available on a website — the best way I know of to get spam) was *not* subscribed here; however, you also subscribed to this thread with another email address when you posted just now. I've deleted that subscription.

    On the other hand, if you're talking about email from merchant911.org, please note that:

    (a) this is developedtraffic.com, not merchant911.org, and we do not control their email; and

    (b) the only way I know of to get email from merchant911.org is to subscribe to their email list … which is voluntary. However, I'd suggest contacting them directly to unsubcribe.

  7. shugie says:

    i have just this past week heard of this nigerian shipping scam and believe that i am stuck in the middle of it. i dont know where to go for help, and afraid that i will be in legal trouble before its done. for several months have been chatting with a man online, very friendly chats daily, emailing religious stories,jokes etc. i lost everything in a fire several weeks ago so to pick up my spirits he wanted to send me something and sent me roses. i thought this was a very nice gesture to brighten my new empty apartment. a couple weeks later he states he sent me something he wants me to ship to his mother as a gift from him, its difficult to ship to her from where he was. i said fine, i rec'd a 400.00 cellphone, then without warning next day i rec'd 300.00 gold chain and pkgs keep coming. i have filed a police report who state at this point i have done nothing wrong. property is mine to keep. i called the vendors to return them but they expect me to pay for shipping and i refuse! only one vendor agreed to send u.p.s. to pick up their merchandise tomorrow 10/25/06 another thing that worries me is that i feel i am being tracked on the internet bcuz pkgs are coming to me from websites that i order from myself, so when i receive i dont know until i have open that they are not my orders. i have let this person know i am aware he is a fraud so why is he still shipping things to my home? what can be the point? no one profits as long as i dont forward the package to the designated nigerian address. and the police state nothing they can do.

  8. DianeV says:

    Wow. I am certainly not an expert in this; however, I'd read the links in the post at the top of the page — couldn't hurt to join up at Merchant911.org and perhaps contact the FBI to see what can be done.

    Otherwise, take a look at this FBI ic3.gov link under the RESHIPPING scheme, which sounds like what is happening to you — it also provides a link to file a complaint.

    That said, if "they" are purchasing with credit cards to have stuff shipped to you, and later charge-back their credit card purchases, then my guess is that the merchants may turn to *you* to get their goods returned; if that's how it works, I'd email every one of them to tell them what's going on, that you would like to return the goods but, as you are not an accomplice, do not want to pay for shipping since you had nothing to do with the purchase in the first place — and you could also give them links to the FBI page about this type of scheme. At that point, it's up to them to decide what to do, but at least you'd have what we call a "paper trail" in proving your point, should it ever come to that.

    Hope it all goes well. Do check out Merchant911.org.

  9. Anna Baum says:

    This all sounds so familiar. I will check out merchant911.org.
    Here's what has happened. A man found my profile on a Christian dating site and contacted me. He seemed like a really nice person. Then he shared that he is in Africa the country of Ghana. Then he moved to Nigeria which made me wonder. I can tell you the name he goes by, but I would rather not put it out there for the world to see until I know if he really is a scam or not. He seems to have a big soft generous heart for kids in the orphanages over there and a big desire to help them. Then came the request that if he had some goods shipped to my house to be consolidated and shipped on to him it would help him to help them. I agreed, and the stuff started coming. He would email prepaid FedEx invoices and labels and I shipped them. He paid for them so I am not out any money. The parcels come from many different sources, like WalMart, Penney's, CCS, individuals, Old Navy, Office Depot, etc. THEN, one day I got a slip in the mailbox to pick up something that needed a signature. What was it? An Express Mail envelop with three $500 American Express Travellers Cheques. I was supposed to cash them and wire the money to him. This seemed weird so I went to my bank and asked if they were legit. No, they were fake. Of course, he claims to know nothing about how this could happen. All apologetic and everything. So, of course, I did not cash them. Then I also told him I would not ship anything more until I knew what he was REALLY doing with the merchandise. He has "adopted" two Nigerian boys and they all are planning to come to Ohio before Christmas and stay in my house. There were a couple of thimes that this man asked for my bank account number so he could "send me some money". I knew better than that so did not give him any information.
    Now, I do know that some of the story is likely true. The question is, how much of it, and what part. I have chatted with the boys and I do think that they are for real.
    Should I report all this to someone? Who, and How? I still have some of the merchandise here in my house and am not sure what I should do now.

  10. DianeV says:

    Thanks, Anna. The problem is that there's no real proof of what is real and what isn't. And then there are the falsities; the fact that some of it may be true doesn't remove the falsities.

    What I can surmise is that he did the ship-to-you-and-you-ship-to-him thing (also known as "reshipping"). Then there were fake travelers' checks. Then you spoke to some boys, but really, you have no way of knowing who they are or whether their relationship is what he says it is.

    I would highly, highly recommend visiting the FBI's site re:
    Nigerian 419 scam

    And, always, be careful.

  11. Rebecca Powell says:

    I have this guy that wants me to send some packages to him in nigeria. He is going to send them to me then I am suppose to send them to him. I am so afraid this is a scam. There suppose to get to me by next week. I don't know what to do. Can someone help me. Who do I report this too.

  12. Diane Vigil says:

    Well, you should probably ask yourself whether you know the guy, and what it's all about.

    Strangers approaching you to do strange things is not so enticing, in my view. Especially things which others have found were scams of one sort or another.

    If you'll scroll to the top of the page, my post mentions the FBI. You could start there, or try a Yahoo search for FBI Nigerian shipping fraud. That should tell you all you need to know.

  13. Sharon Helm says:

    thanks, I was just approached to do some reshipping. I didn't have a good feeling about it and desided to investigate befor giving address to ship to.

    Your letters and address to look at is a great help.

    thank you again

  14. Diane Vigil says:

    Glad to hear it helped, Sharon. It pays to be cautious.

  15. AL LOUCKS says:


  16. Judy says:

    Hi, I don't have a business, but I am selling some gemstones from my former business and wonder how I can find out if this person who wants to buy them and send them to his brother in Nigeria is real. He wants to pay for the items through PayPal. I really have a bad feeling, but if he is a real buyer I don't want to miss out on the sale. How can I protect myself with this type of sale?

  17. Diane Vigil says:

    That's a good question, Judy. I would suggest checking into whatever organizations you may have in your area. Perhaps http://fbi.gov could help.

    Then again, if I had a real bad feeling about something, I wouldn't ignore it, but that's just me.

  18. Judy says:

    I have sent a spoof email to PayPal to see if he is a valid PayPal customer. That is all I know for now. Thanks for the quick reply.

  19. Diane Vigil says:

    Okay — and good luck!

  20. Dayne says:

    I was trying to sell some stuff, and this guy wanted to buy it, and he said he lived in California.
    He asked for my paypal so he can send the money to me through it.
    he later said that he wanted me to ship it to his daughter in nigeria, using this certain mail service (which i do not remember) and it would have cost me about $690.72 to ship.
    he wants to send me 200 to cover the price and shipping price. what should i do now?

  21. Diane Vigil says:

    That's a tough one. Did he pay you the money through Paypal? If so, perhaps you can refund it (through Paypal). However, if this was me, I'd take it up with Paypal, as they undoubtedly have experience with this kind of thing.

  22. Dayne says:

    he never sent the money, and he says to hurry and ship it, because his daughters birthday is on friday, and he also wants me to do overnight shipping, and then he will send it.
    i have received 4 different emails like this, and they all had "daughters in nigeria" and they want me to ship and then they will send the money

  23. Diane Vigil says:

    Well, you haven't received any money, so you owe them nothing. Just because someone tells you to do something doesn't mean you have to do it, regardless of what the "emergency" is.

    I'd say this isn't a real customer. Time to look for better customers!

  24. collins says:

    I am a Nigerian, and We are organising a non-governmental organization that will be looking into any kind of fraud within and oustide nigeria, and we will be alerting people on how to avoid them.

  25. Joseph Murphy says:

    Dear friends


    I believe that I was scammed through the FBI.ORG web sight my self as well.
    Because I reported a scam to that main sight in Washington DC.
    And got called a moreon in the process from some one claiming to be Robert S Mueller the 111
    Kind of a bad deal when you can't even report to the FBI web sight its self.
    Unless the FBI web sight is a phoney one put up by some one to pull in the unsuspecting persons reading it.

  26. Diane Vigil says:

    Okay. Not sure I understand. How exactly were you scammed by the fbi.org website?

  27. Dan says:

    Hello I put an item on eBay to sell and then I received an email from someone in Nigeria who wants me to send them the item and they will pay me through paypal. He sent me the money and demanded I ship it to him. I hve receive a email from paypal saying that If I don't ship within the next 24 hours the FBI will be contacted for me being a scamer which is completely not true I thought I was getting scammed. What should I do?

  28. Diane Vigil says:

    Are you sure that the email is actually from Paypal? That sounds unusual, I think.

    I would contact Paypal/eBay, and would look at refunding the money. That's what I'd do; it's up to you what you do.

  29. farhan says:


    im selling item via online and last 3 week im dealling with nigerian that wanna buy my item,and he agree but in 1 condition that i must shipp the item to lagos fist then his bank will credited the money to my account and that also what his bank told me as well…the bank hold my money untill i give them the tracking no…then after the bank assure me regarding my money will be credited when i gave the tracking no…then after i gave the tracking no to the bank and the buyer..bank have mail me and comform me the transaction is successfull..but untill now i didnt get my money yet it almost 1month..the bank tell that i must pay for the nigerian custom duty tax wich is not my responsible to pay and that was what DHL told me…but when i check back with DHL.they tell me that the item already been send to the buyer and there is no duty tax..and that is what the DHL told me….but the buyer and his bank still dont want to pay my money…so what can i do now??please can anybody help me….im worried…

  30. Diane Vigil says:

    I would be worried, too, Farhan. It's not a normal transaction to be paid after shipping the item, especially if you don't really know the person.

    Unfortunately, I don't know what you can do to collect your payment at this point.

    You've shipped the item and were supposed to be paid. Now, instead, it sounds like they want you to pay a duty tax (which, according to DHL, does not exist). So far, you've sent the item, and now they want you to pay more. If you were foolish enough to do so, one wonders what other payment "requirement" might appear.

    This does not sound right to me.

  31. mohammad says:

    What should I do.

    I re-shipped some stuff and now I realize i was a victim.
    Who should I contact?

  32. mohammad says:

    Please let me know what i should do!!!!
    I have paniced!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Diane Vigil says:

    Mohammad, I am not really sure. I'd suggest contacting the authorities — perhaps your local FBI office.

  34. corrina says:

    hi this person brought some thing via ebay from me, i had to send the shippers fee what was $2,300.00 to this address nosiru kabiru ademola (kath wilson) agent willson. since i sent the money via western union the person who was buying my item changed his mind and withdrawed his money. now the shipping agent will not return my money or reply to my emails, phone calls. counld some one please tell me what can i do to get my money back it's alot of money to not to do any thing, so if you could help me . i have filed forms to the police aswell in nigeria. it's coming up to 3mths now and i have not got no reply but from the police or nigeria law .i have kept all the emails and the western union form. so if you could help me i would like to hear from you, thankyou.

  35. Diane Vigil says:

    I don't understand. Someone bought something from you, but you had to send "the shippers fee" … could you explain?

  36. corrina says:

    well i had to send the fee of $2,300.00 before they could come for the pickup, and when i done that the person didn't want my item any more . so now the shipping agent will not refund my money.

  37. Diane Vigil says:

    This sounds pretty odd. I would suggest contacting the authorities.

  38. Diane Vigil says:

    Corrina, I got your email. I'm sorry I really can't be much help here. Although I posted the above article years ago, I'm not an expert in fraud and what to do about it (I'm a web designer, among other things). That's why I recommend that you contact the authorities.

    If you're in the U.S., I'd start with the local FBI office.

  39. niz says:

    I have this guy work as marine engineer wanted to buy my watch that i advertise online. he said he want to buy for his brother in nigeria. I told him to pay 1st. After a while, there is an email from a bank claiming that the money has been prepare to enter my account and only can be released when i send them the shipment transaction. once i did that, the bank give another email that i have to put up some money because the amount of the item sold is not up to the minimum amount of the international transaction. I have to transfer the money via western union. once i did that, the bank come up another email claiming there is a fee to pay and i have to pay the fee and promise me that i will get back all the money i have spent. then, the bank email me said that the money i have sent were not found. they asked me to send again. After that, i need to send another money to activate my account and then another money to pay the customs fee and then the last money they asked me to transfer (amount 1000usd) for international transaction fee. I refuse to transfer the money, then the bank said they will bring me to court. after that i receive an email from fbi asking me to pay the money and if i refuse they will arrest me. I knew that they have threatned me seriously so that i already lodge a report to the bank and also to ftc. the buyer of the watch keep calling me during day and night but i did not answering their calls. I knew there is something wrong. what i should do right now???

  40. Diane Vigil says:

    By the way, as I mentioned in the article above, I am not an expert in these matters; all I did was write the article based on a few things I'd read.

    > after that i receive an email from fbi asking me to pay the money and if i refuse they will arrest me.

    This doesn't sound right. I would contact your local FBI, and a lawyer.

  41. Anna Baum says:

    Well, it is now 4 years later. I did try to contact the companies that the merchandise came from and explained how I came to be in possession of it. Then I asked their advice in returning it since I was sure it was never paid for. I never heard from them, so after waiting over 2 years I decided to use some of it. The remainder I put in the community yard sale at my church a year ago. All my attempts to report all of this were futile in that I never seemed to be contacting the right people.



  43. Diane Vigil says:

    Reindolf, I don't know anything about it, which you'd know if you'd read the "Please Note" at the top of the page. Again, deal with the authorities.


    And, that said, I think it's time to close this thread to comments. I'm not an expert in this matters; I've never had this happen to me. I simply wrote a quick post in 2005 with links to a couple of articles on the topic. That's what I know.

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