Avoid getting scammed by fake "Unclaimed Expensive Goods" emails

Also Known As: "Unclaimed Expensive Goods" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Unclaimed Expensive Goods"?

After investigating the "Unclaimed Expensive Goods" email, we determined that it is spam. This letter makes an offer for the recipient to participate in a scheme. In this plot, they will be presented as a representative of a deceased Mossack Fonseca investor. Upon success of the plan, the email recipient will be able to obtain and then share with the sender the late investor's wealth.

It must be stressed that this offer is a scam, likely one targeting victims' personal information or money.

Unclaimed Expensive Goods email spam campaign

"Unclaimed Expensive Goods" email scam overview

The email with the subject "Important Information For You - Confirm Receipt For More Details." (may vary) claims to be a missive from the "former Safe Deposit Vault Manager" of the now-closed "Mossack Fonseca Investment Corporation".

The Mossack Fonseca & Co. firm had shut down after its involvement in financial fraud was revealed by the Panama Papers leak. Due to this, all operations and offices were closed – until it would be ensured that unsullied funds could be returned to their proper owners.

The sender states that an investor who had passed in Martinique left no information regarding her next of kin or other representatives. The supposed former manager offers to present the recipient as a representative of the deceased investor, and they have all the documentation to pull this off.

The goal is for the recipient to be eligible to receive the late woman's vault deposits, which consist of cash, gold, and diamonds worth close to seven million USD. These goods will be sent to the recipient, and they will have to share these ill-gotten gains with the sender.

It must be emphasized that all the information in this email is false, and it is in no way associated with any real individuals or genuine past/present entities.

Typically, scams of this kind target sensitive information and/or aim to trick victims into transferring money to scammers. The former includes personally identifiable and finance-related data, e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit card numbers, etc.

This private information can be used for a variety of nefarious deeds, such as identity theft or the facilitation of fraudulent monetary transactions and online purchases.

Victims can also be deceived into transferring funds to cyber criminals directly. This deceit could be presented as tax payments or fees related to documentation, storage, transportation, and so on. Scammers rely on difficult-to-trace methods for acquiring funds, primarily – cryptocurrencies, prepaid vouchers, gift cards, or cash hidden in innocent-looking packages and shipped.

To summarize, by trusting an email like "Unclaimed Expensive Goods" – users can experience severe privacy issues, significant financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have disclosed your personally identifiable or finance-related information to scammers – immediately contact relevant authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Unclaimed Expensive Goods" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient is offered to participate in a scheme where they will obtain goods valued at $6,850,000, which had formerly belonged to a deceased Mossack Fonseca investor.
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Spam campaigns in general

We have investigated numerous spam emails; "Account(s) Lost IMAP/POP3 Coverage", "DPD Online Confirmation Must Be Made", "Yamaha Baby Grand Piano", "MINISTÉRIO PUBLICO PORTUGAL", "Amazon - Your Account Has Been Locked", and "Missing Invoice" are merely some examples of our latest finds.

Spam campaigns are used to promote various scams and to spread malware. While the commonly held belief that these emails are full of grammatical and spelling errors is not untrue, it is not exclusive. Spam letters can be competently crafted and even believably disguised as messages from legitimate companies, service providers, organizations, institutions, authorities, and other entities.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Cyber criminals often use spam campaigns to proliferate malware. Deceptive emails/messages can include virulent files as attachments or download links. These files come in various formats, e.g., documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), executables (.exe, .run, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

When such a file is opened – the infection chain is initiated. Some formats can require additional user interaction to jumpstart malware download/installation processes. For example, Microsoft Office files need users to enable macro commands (i.e., editing/content), while OneNote documents require them to click on embedded links or files.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Exercising caution with incoming emails and other messages is essential. We advise against opening attachments or links found in suspicious/irrelevant mail, as they can be malicious. We recommend using Microsoft Office versions released after 2010 since their "Protective View" mode prevents automatic macro execution.

It must be stressed that malware is not proliferated only via spam mail. Therefore, we also advise being vigilant while browsing, as fraudulent and dangerous online content usually appears genuine and innocuous.

Another recommendation is to download only from official and verified channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third-party updates can contain malware.

It is paramount for device/user safety to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security software must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats/issues. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Unclaimed Expensive Goods" spam email letter:

Subject: Important Information For You - Confirm Receipt For More Details.


Dear Friend,


My name is Luis Martinez, former Safe Deposit Vault Manager at now closed Mossack Fonseca Investment Corporation with offices in Panama, Zurich Switzerland, Paris, Florida, New York USA and London UK.

During my work years at Mossack Fonseca, I supervised many offshore investments and safe deposits for foreign investors who invested and deposited their wealth in secret investments and deposits at Mossack Fonseca Investments and Safe Deposit Corporation.


One of the investors that deposited her Diamonds, Gold items and cash deposit of US$6,850,000 in Safe Deposit Vault at Mossack Fonseca has long died in the Caribbean Island of Martinique while on vacation and the Diamonds, Gold and cash she kept with the company for Safe Keep are yet to be claimed because she has passed on and left no contact details of any extended family or representative to claim the Diamonds, Gold and Cash.

I want to present you to Mossack Fonseca Payment Officials as her Heir Next of Kin Representative so that you can claim these items for us to share it accordingly. I have the original copies of the Safe Deposit Documents which will be required to release the personal items to you as her heir representative to claim them. All I need from you is maximum secrecy and cooperation while I present you as her representative so that we can successfully claim the items since I have the original copies of the safe keeping documents.

However, due to series of issues relating to Tax, Mossack Fonseca was directed by the United States Government and European Union Governments to stop operations and close their offices and ensure that all invested and deposits at the company are processed and paid out to the respective investors or their heir next of kin representatives (where the investor has died). The Corporation Payment Officials and their Bankers, UBS Bank are paying out all funds and deposits as directed.

These items will be shipped to your address as soon as we commence the claim process because I have the original copies of the Deposit Documents which they will require to approve and process the claim.

You can read more about Mossack Fonseca via below links:
List of people named in the Panama Papers - Panama Papers
I shall give you further details as you reply.
I therefore await your reply to enable us to commence the claim process.


Luis Martinez

Appearance of the "Unclaimed Expensive Goods" spam email (GIF):

Unclaimed Expensive Goods scam email appearance (GIF)

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Quick menu:

Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Spam emails are not personal, even if they include details relevant to the recipients. Cyber criminals distribute this mail in massive campaigns – hence, thousands of users receive identical letters.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this spam email, what should I do?

If you have provided your personally identifiable or finance-related information to scammers (e.g., ID card details, passport scans/photos, credit card numbers, etc.) – immediately contact the appropriate authorities. And if you've disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay.

I have read a spam email but didn't open the attachment, is my computer infected?

Devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened/clicked; merely reading an email is harmless.

I have downloaded and opened a file attached to a spam email, is my computer infected?

Whether your device was infected might depend on the format of the opened file. If it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.) – most likely, yes – since these files cause infections almost without fail. However, if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .pdf, .one, etc.), you might have avoided compromising your system. These formats may require additional actions to begin downloading/installing malware (e.g., enabling macro commands, clicking embedded content, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan devices and eliminate all manner of threats, including most of the known malware infections. It must be mentioned that performing a complete system scan is key since sophisticated malicious software typically hides deep within systems.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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