Avoid getting scammed by fake "Cargo Shipment" emails

Also Known As: "Cargo Shipment" spam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of email is "Cargo Shipment"?

After reading the "Cargo Shipment" email, we determined that it is spam. The letter is presented as partnership offer for 30% value of goods that need to be shipped. If the recipient agrees, they are to aid with arranging the shipment.

This kind of scam mail typically seeks to obtain sensitive information or deceive victims into sending money to scammers.

Cargo Shipment email spam campaign

"Cargo Shipment" email scam overview

The spam email with the subject "URGENT REPLY" (may vary) provides a description of a shipment. The contents of the cargo cannot be disclosed, and they are only identified as "African handcraft" worth one billion USD. These goods are currently housed at a transit point in Entebbe – a city in Uganda.

The letter details an offer to the recipient. Essentially, the owner of the cargo needs a partner to assist them with safe delivery of goods and their injection into the banking system. The recipient is promised 30% of the funds for their share of responsibility and work. The recipient will then be requested to advise on the investment of the remaining 70%.

It must be emphasized that all the information in the "Cargo Shipment" email is false, and this mail is not associated with any public figures or legitimate entities.

These types of scams lure victims into communicating with scammers, but how the scheme progresses from that point on can differ. Some aim to acquire personally identifiable or finance-related data, e.g., ID card information, passport scans/photos, online bank log-in credentials, banking account details, credit/debit card numbers, etc.

Alternatively, the scammers may aim to get victims to send them funds. This is likely to be the case, as the spam email mentions "storage costs and freight costs" and does not indicate who is supposed to handle the bogus fees. Hence, this could be the lie used to deceive victims into sending money.

Cyber criminals rely on difficult-to-trace methods to obtain funds, e.g., cash hidden in packages and shipped, cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, gift cards, etc. Using such methods diminishes the chances of the scammers getting prosecuted and of victims retrieving their funds.

In summary, by trusting an email like "Cargo Shipment" – users can experience severe privacy issues, financial losses, and even identity theft.

If you have already provided your log-in credentials to scammers – change the passwords of all possibly exposed accounts and inform their official support without delay. And if you've disclosed personally identifiable or finance-related data – immediately contact the appropriate authorities.

Threat Summary:
Name "Cargo Shipment" spam email
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Recipient is promised 30% of the 1 billion USD-valued cargo for their aid in its shipment and injection into the banking system.
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

Spam mail is used to facilitate various scams, e.g., advance fee, investment, inheritance, lottery, tech support, refund, sextortion, etc. Deceptive emails are to spread malware as well.

While the commonly held belief that these letters are riddled with spelling/grammatical errors is not untrue, it is not always the case. The emails can be competently crafted and even perfectly imitate messages from genuine entities (e.g., corporations, companies, organizations, service providers, authorities, etc.).

We have investigated countless spam emails; "Email Sending Has Been Temporarily Suspended", "TFBank", "Wells Fargo - Direct Deposit", "Specification Of Products", "Government Tender Supply Project In Ghana", "Treasures For Safekeeping", "Your System Has Been Cracked", and "Messages In Soundbox" are merely some of our newest articles on this mail.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Spam campaigns are often used in malware distribution. Spam emails/messages can include malicious files as attachments or download links. These files can come in various formats, e.g., executables (.exe, .run, etc.), archives (RAR, ZIP, etc.), documents (Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote, PDF, etc.), JavaScript, and so on.

Merely opening an infectious file can be enough to trigger the malware download/installation chain. However, some formats can require additional actions to jumpstart these 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?

Incoming emails, PMs/DMs, SMSes, and other messages must be approached with caution. Do not open attachments or links present in suspect/irrelevant mail, as they can be harmful or virulent.

It must be mentioned that malware is not proliferated exclusively via spam mail. Therefore, be vigilant while browsing, as fraudulent and malicious online content usually appears legitimate and innocuous.

Additionally, download only from official and verified sources. Activate and update software using functions/tools provided by genuine developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third-party updaters may contain malware.

It is paramount to have a reputable anti-virus installed and kept up-to-date. Security programs must be used to perform regular system scans and to remove threats and 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 "Cargo Shipment" spam email letter:



The cargo description:
One Billion US dollars , officially declared as African handcraft at the customs on transit .
10 Pallets, each pallet has 4 metal boxes , each box containing 25 millions and net weight of 250 kgs.

The content of the cargo is confidential and not disclosed to anyone apart from the agent handling the shipping process.

The goods currently in Entebbe transit warehouse/ cargo village .
The owner of the goods willing to partner with whoever can assist to lift the cargo , deliver safely at his destination be able to inject the funds in the banking system at the destination.


The owner offers 30% to the partner ready to engage on this business transaction. The 70% remaining will be invested in sectors advised by the partner on behalf of the Owner .

Shipment process : the partner or his representative shall travel to Uganda meet the Owners representative and the shipping agent , go through inspection to confirm the goods , after satisfied inspection the Partner will have an agreement with Owners signed and share the responsibilities.
The agent will give the storage costs and freight costs and prepare the departure of the cargo to the partners destination.
I wait your urgent response.

Best Regards,
Dr. Ocen Ernest.

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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. This mail is distributed in massive operations – hence, thousands of users receive identical messages.

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

If you have disclosed your log-in credentials – change the passwords of all potentially compromised accounts and inform their official support. However, if the disclosed information was of a different personal nature (e.g., ID card details, passport photos/scans, credit/debit card numbers, etc.) – contact relevant authorities without delay.

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

Reading an email is harmless; devices are infected when malicious attachments or links are opened.

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 opened file's format. The system was most likely compromised if it was an executable (.exe, .run, etc.). However, you might have avoided triggering the infection if it was a document (.doc, .xls, .one, .pdf, etc.). These formats may require extra interaction to start downloading/installing malware (e.g., enabling macros, clicking embedded content, etc.).

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections present in email attachments?

Yes, Combo Cleaner can detect and remove practically all known malware infections. Note that running a full system scan is critical since high-end 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.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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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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