How should an individual in the following situation proceed? This individual has a friend who is connected to the UN in South Sudan and is waiting to return home but does not want to leave his belongings behind. He is asking the individual to accept a package for him from the United Nations Delivery Service and to have it delivered to her. He only has an eleven-year-old son as his last living relative. He is not asking the individual to pay anything in order to receive his belongings. She has known him for a year and a half. Is there some possible fraud involved?

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This question addresses potential fraudulent activities from countries outside of the United States. These are a few of the steps a person should follow when asked to perform a service for a person from a foreign country on the internet.

Unfortunately, in this age and time we live, it is best to use caution when someone asks you to do something from a foreign country. The first question is, have you met this person face to face in person or is this an internet connection? The second question is, have you verified the identity of this person as having an actual position with the UN in South Sudan? The UN has issued numerous fraud alerts based on some past and present frauds being conducted and based in the area this person is supposedly located. A link to the UN's fraud site is attached.

You should always verify any information with the United States Department of State. South Sudan is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world. The United States Department of State has issued a warning: do not travel to South Sudan. It has a Level 4 indicator, the highest warning they release. The notice would call into question why a UN operative would be working in South Sudan. The link is attached with the full alert. An individual in this situation would want to read this before proceeding.

The next question you may want to ask is, if this person is shipping something to you, what are the contents of the shipment? The question indicates they are waiting to return home; then why not send it to their home address or to the address of where the guardian of the eleven-year-old lives? Many current financial scams begin with an innocuous request. This is how scammers obtain your address, which can be used to find other information about a person, such as financial or credit information. Though they have not asked for financial information, cybercriminals are extraordinarily good at converting seemingly harmless data into precise details on a person's identity and then using that information to access personal accounts.

As a teaching moment, everyone is advised to use caution any time something is not verifiable. People who scam others for a living are very patient and often will try to gain their targets' trust over a long period.

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A person who has served on the staff of an international organization can readily make arrangements through the organization to have an agent meet the shipment in the United States and take care of transfer to a storage facility. It is highly unusual to request that a nonprofessional conduct such arrangements or receive the property.

Fraud through international shipping has many aspects. A person who receives any goods that have been illegally shipped or contain materials that are illegal in the United States, whether or not they do so knowingly, may face prosecution. There are many services available to help consumers learn about the vast array of fraudulent schemes that are currently being perpetrated.

Before agreeing to accept goods that have been shipped from a foreign point of origin, it would be advisable to become familiar with some of the legal ramifications. The USFederal Bureau of Investigation maintains such a website (https://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx).

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