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6 Most Common Cargo Scams: Know How To Avoid Them

Everybody knows that transportation is important. Unfortunately, that also makes freight companies targets for scammers that are looking for opportunities to steal from a multi-billion industry.

We gathered some common ways fraudsters can cheat a shipper:

1. Forged Bill of Lading

This type of scam is used to exploit a possibility of a fake bill of lading, which looks almost like an original, aiming at the criminal acquisition of the cargo.

Avoid this: always make sure you know the chain of custody, especially when it comes to bills of lading. If you see repeating errors in documents, you should stop any shipping with the client in question until the situation has been investigated completely.

2. Holding Bill of Lading for ransom

In this case the scammer will present himself as a freight forwarder on some popular shipping websites. They can be relatively easy to spot because their offers have ridiculously low rates. Usually when they find a client and negotiate with him for freight, the swindlers will deny the release of the Bill of Lading when the cargo is already on board. The client will then receive an email asking for money, or they will not see their goods at all.

Avoid this: be sure to know the standard cost of your shipment. Many new shippers nowadays lack diligence when it comes to the costs of their freight, and they easily get attracted by any discounted offers online.

3. Fake cargo sales

Sometimes the fraudsters will try to create genuine bills of lading that look like they are real. They will offer to sell goods that are supposedly already on board; but they will attempt to obtain direct payment or a letter of credit.

Avoid this: do some serious checks to catch the offenders beforehand. The fact that the deal offered is way too good to be true should alert you.

4. Trojan container

This type of scheme uses the excuse that the shipping container has a specific type of cargo within, when in reality the contents are highly illegal. You will have a great number of issues with it ― the carrier can face criminal charges, fines or worse.

Avoid this: do whatever you can to check cargo as well as contents of its containers to avoid this scam at all costs.

5. The Duplicate of another company Name

This example of scam involves a fake website with a name similar to a legit company site. While it can be the case for companies to have nearly identical names, some of these sites are made to steal money from shippers who don’t know how to distinguish such scam.

Avoid this: know how to identify a legitimate site properly. If you know the correct spelling of the company’s name, look at the URL and see if there are any misspelled letters here. Also, pay close attention to the domain name.

6. Cargo Theft

Be careful if you have high-valued cargo ― it can be the primary target of cargo theft. Scammers will offer you a suspicious discount and then vanish once they get your shipment.

Avoid this: be extra vigilant and ask them every question about details that you wanted to know and be sure that you have their contacts, including their shipping and billing address.

Finding a reliable freight brokerage company will help you stay focused on your business, not on scammers. You can check us ― write to and ask any questions. We will gladly send you a pack of documents.

Logistic industry