How to avoid scams around ‘mystery parcel deals’ in France

The practice of buying mystery undelivered items is increasing…but so are the scams

The mystery boxes could be a good deal, but some offers really are too good to be true
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People in France are being warned to stay alert to increased numbers of scams that promise the delivery of ‘mystery boxes’ of undelivered goods at bargain prices.

The practice is growing in popularity; shops and internet stores are increasingly selling boxes of undelivered items by the kilo, at super-low prices. 

The catch is that recipients do not know what is inside the boxes before they receive them. Some legitimate resale companies, such as Flamingo Box, may sell boxes from a particular brand, but the exact contents are still a mystery.

This may seem like a low-stakes, fun deal - the consumer may end up getting a bargain, as the box could contain something of high value, having paid only a very small price in comparison to the original goods. At the very least, the contents of the boxes could be an interesting surprise.

Flamingo Box is one website that resells mystery boxes of undelivered items

Yet, it is a gamble. Scams surrounding the practice are increasing. These include the reselling of boxes that are known to contain poor-quality products that are barely worth even in the super-low price tag, or the selling of boxes that are never sent.

Some customers have complained that parcels bought online never arrive.

Typically, these fraudulent sites use false addresses, and fake legal notices. Some even create websites that look very similar to genuine resale sites, including Flamingo Box. This resale company has reported that fraudsters have used its brand to scam customers.

How can I avoid resale scams? 

  • Double check website addresses are correct. Scam addresses may look very similar, but not be identical, to the real address

  • Check the website’s Siret company number. A Siret is a unique French business identification number and proves the official registration of a commercial activity. You can search Siret numbers on the Service Public company directory website here.

  • Be alert to tell-tale signs of a scam website. These might include poor-quality graphics, spelling errors, websites with strange punctuation or domains (e.g. ‘.fr-com’ or ‘’), too-good-to-be-true prices, and bad reviews (if any) from previous scammed customers. A total lack of online reviews can also be a sign that a website has just opened, purely to scam people.

Read also: ‘Smishing’: Warning over this common scamming trick in France 
Read also: Online and text scams: France plans warning system to prevent fraud 

If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, call your bank, and report it to this government website, Signal-Conso.