3 Cargo Shipping Scams to Avoid

 In cargo, International Shipping

Guest Blog


Gareth Collins

Cargo Shipping Scams to AvoidThe shipping industry of today as well as the maritime commerce one has been experiencing a rise in fraud cases with different levels of ingenuity and sophistication in the last decade or so.

This often forces us to keep a sharp eye open for any possible dummy companies and other possible sources of such issues.

The following article will point out 3 of the most common ways fraudsters may attempt to take advantage of a client or even a cargo shipping company:

1 – Forged Bill of Lading Scam

This type of fraud attempts to take advantage of a fake bill of lading, which looks almost unrecognizable from an original, aiming toward the unlawful acquisition of the cargo in question.

Such a fraud requires a lot of information gathering on account of the fraudsters, such as a copy of the actual bill of lading to ensure forging is believable. The actual ship owner and actual receiver of cargo are then left to pick up the pieces as the thieves escape detection with the contents of the cargo itself.

You should always make sure you are aware of the chain of custody when it comes to bills of lading. Check local shipping agents as they will need to make sure all documentation is genuine and actual. If you encounter repeating errors in documents or inconsistencies, you should put a halt to any shipping operations with the client in question until the situation has been investigated or uncovered as fraudulent.

2 – Fake Cargo Sale Scam

In this case the fraudsters will attempt to create genuine bills of lading that emulate the real thing as closely as possible, even down to copying corporate logos and document styles as well as even including a large portion of real shipping details.

The fraudsters will appear to be very well informed about the nature of the cargo being shipped. They may even know the trading pattern of the vessel in question, giving details about the route and possible cargo so they can make the transaction as close as possible to appearing legal.

They will offer to sell cargo that is supposedly on board the vessel; however, the fraudsters will attempt to seek a buyer for their phantom cargo by either obtaining direct payment or via a Letter of Credit.

You should keep in mind that a lot of social engineering and research is needed for a scam of this kind. You may need to do some serious checks to catch the offending party in their tracks. One of the most common things about a scam of this kind is the fact that the deal offered is often way too good to be true, giving a major discount compared to the usual market prices.

3 – Trojan Container Scam

This type of fraud most often uses the premise that the container in question has a specific type of cargo within, when in fact the contents are quite different.

You can experience a great number of issues with it, ranging from smuggled goods to immigrants, illegal drugs, and even downright trash meant to emulate the weight of the listed goods in question.

The carrier often risks criminal charges, fines, detention or worse. You should do whatever you can to check cargo manifests as well as the contents of the cargo containers themselves to avoid scams of this kind at all costs.


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This was a guest blog by Gareth Collins.

Gareth is an expert in the field of relocation and shipping worldwide. Read more from him by visiting the Fulham house move website.

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