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I have little experience with the law, so I wanted to ask about my situation before I take any action.

A cousin asked me to purchase an item on Amazon and send it to them internationally via UPS (I live in the US, they live in Jordan). They wired the money for the item upfront, and I just received it today. Before I purchase the item, I want to make sure this is legal. The item should require payment at customs on the receiving end (approximate value $300). I am worried specifically about two things:

  1. This particular family member has been in trouble with the law, specifically white collar fraud. I am worried about the source of the money I just received. Presumably his issues with the law have been resolved, but he could be lying about that.

  2. Would sending the item via UPS in any way violate customs law? Is this person using me to circumvent paying customs for the item?

I might be too paranoid about this, but I want to be on the safe side before I do anything.

  • It doesn't sound like they are circumventing customs duties, you state that customs duties will be paid. And presumably something sold by Amazon is not contraband that is illegal to provide (e.g. drugs, weapons). – ohwilleke Apr 12 '18 at 4:50
  • I don't know if they will be paid for sure. I'm assuming customs screens packages and won't let them have it without payment, but I don't know if they do – Wishing-Star Apr 12 '18 at 4:56
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    When you send a package internationally, you stick a customs declaration form on the outside so the customs service in the recipient's country knows how much duty to collect. – phoog Apr 12 '18 at 5:19
  • Okay, so it seems that declaring the item's value when I ship it via UPS will resolve my second concern. Thanks ohwilleke and phoog. What about the first issue regarding the source of the money? – Wishing-Star Apr 12 '18 at 7:49
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    There could be some wire-fraud with the way the money is being transferred. I would advise to read up on 419 scams to see how these work, but basically the banks will credit your account before they confirm the money is real, as international things such as that are difficult to ascertain right away. You then buy and send the item and get hit for the initial payment he sent you when the check is fake. Basically, you're back to your initial account value, minus the value of the account. That this is a family member, so it might not be the case. But it doesn't hurt to verify. – hszmv Apr 12 '18 at 14:24

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