Suitcase full of cash
Home ScamsAdvance Fee Scams US Customs and Border Protection ‘Trunks Of Cash’ Scam Email

US Customs and Border Protection ‘Trunks Of Cash’ Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recently intercepted two trunks at John F Kennedy International Airport that they suspect belong to you.

The message claims that the trunks contained $4.1 million in cash and were accompanied by a diplomat that was intending on delivering them to your address.


But, claims the message, the consignment lacked the correct paperwork, so Customs and Border Protection confiscated the trunks and released the diplomat.

The message, which includes the name of a real Customs and Border Protection commissioner, urges you to make contact within 72 hours to arrange submission of the required paperwork. Supposedly, after the paperwork has been submitted, you will be able to claim your money filled trunks.

But, warns the message, failing to comply with instructions may lead to arrest, interrogation, and possible imprisonment.

Of course, the message is certainly not from Customs and Border Protection and there are no trunks of money waiting at an airport for you.

In fact, the email is a ‘second try’ advance fee scam aimed at stealing even more money from previous scam victims.

Scammers know that some people who have already fallen for an advance fee scam may actually be very vulnerable to further attempts.

Why? Simply because victims who have lost a large amount of money in an initial scam may be desperate and will latch on to even the flimsiest chance of getting their money back. And, they may feel totally humiliated and disillusioned about being conned.  So, an email like the one below can seemingly offer a chance at redemption.

Perhaps, they may conclude,  it wasn’t a scam after all! Perhaps it was all just a communications breakdown and the promised million dollar fund is finally within their reach.

If they do fall for the ruse and reply in the vain hope of getting their hands on the trunks of cash, they will once again become embroiled in an advance fee scam. The scammers, still posing as government officials, will claim that victims must send money to cover expenses supposedly associated with processing the paperwork. More and more demands for money will follow until victims have no more money to give or at last realise that they are again being conned.

And, the scammers may trick their victims into divulging a lot of their personal and financial information. This information may be later used to steal the identities of victims.

In some cases, scammers will deliberately target people that they have ripped off before.  Or, they will simply blast out vast numbers of the emails in the hope of netting just a few previous victims.

The scammers only need a handful of people to fall for the ruse to make their scheme worthwhile.

An example of the scam email. 

Subject: FROM C.B.P {TREAT AS URGENT} NN.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20229,
United States.

Urgent Attention: Beneficiary,

I am Assistant Commissioner [Name Removed] head of Field Operations (OFO) of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We have just intercepted and confiscated two trunks at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, NY 11430 coming from a foreign country.

We crosschecked the content of the boxes and found it contained a total sum of $4.1 million dollars. Also with one of the trunks were documents with your name as the receiver of the money. As we progressed in our investigations of the Diplomat which accompanied the trunks into the United States we learned that he was to deliver these funds to your residence as payment of an inheritance/winning, which was due to you.

Further checks on the consignment, we found out that the consignment paperwork lacked the PROOF OF OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE AND LEGAL DELIVERY PERMIT CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE forms. We then confiscated both trunks and released the Diplomat.

The trunks According to section 229 subsection 31 of the International, Commerce Regulators Code Enforcement Guidelines, your consignment lacks PROOF OF OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE AND LEGAL DELIVERY PERMIT CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE from the joint team of Homeland Security and therefore you must contact us for direction on how to procure the two certificates, so that you can be relieved of the charges of evading tax which is a jail offense under section 12 subsection 441 of the Tax Code. We will also be asking the IRS to launch an investigation of money laundering if you do not follow our instructions.

You are therefore required to contact me within 72 hours, at that point I will walk you through the process of clearing and claiming the money.

Failure to comply may lead to your arrest, interrogation and/or you being prosecuted in the Court of Law for tax evasion and or money laundering. You are also advised not to contact any bank in Africa, Europe or banking institution.

Yours in service,
[Name Removed]
Head of Field Operations (OFO),
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer