3 modes of operation of fraudulent freight forwarders

A superficial verification of forwarding companies more and more often proves to be the cause of fraud. Dishonest contracting parties exploit high competitiveness on the market and the carriers’ lack of vigilance, using methods that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. What are the methods most frequently employed by the fraudsters and how to prevent them?

Fraud methods of freight forwarders

When it comes to the frauds committed by the freight forwarding companies, they should be divided into three types of situations.

    • The fraudster actually provides forwarding services

In this case scams most frequently are about the company ordering the transport having no intention to pay for it. The forwarder collects advance payment, orders transport, and does not settle accounts for it with the counterparty. Long payment term encourages another transport orders, after which the forwarding company closes operations and disappears without a trace.

How to prevent such fraudulent forwarders?

Before accepting an order it is important to verify the reviews among other enterprises that cooperated with the contracting party. It can be done by means of transport exchanges or credit information agencies.

How to verify a freight forwarding company

    • The company impersonates another existing entity

In the second situation the freight forwarder, pretending to be an existing company, in many cases also a selected employee, has access to all the documents of the company. There is a typical form of communication for such schemes:
– preliminary conversations take place on a mobile phone
– final arrangements are made by e-mail with the use of private e-mail addresses
In more extreme cases, they can also use an existing website or e-mail address, which differ from the actual company addresses only in the domain name or just one letter.

How to avoid fraudsters impersonating freight forwarders?

It is important to start with a careful verification of the company, e.g. in various registers or on the Internet, and contacting its representatives through a personally found e-mail address and landline telephone number.


    • The fraudulent company does not exist at all

This case is associated mainly with false documents held by the contracting party. For instance, sometimes the cooperation starts with 2-3 orders carried out without any problems, and only then a large-scale fraud begins. The non-existent company creates on its own all kinds of documentation that greatly resembles the originals.

How to avoid non-existent freight forwarders?

The solution is to verify the documents with the help of relevant institutions, such as the National Court Register in case of a company, or the Central Registration and Information on Business in relation to a business activity. Based on several sources, any possible inaccuracies should reveal themselves more quickly.

Is verifying forwarders worth the effort?

Regardless of which of the above situations happens to the carrier, it is crucial to always stay alert while beginning cooperation with a new contracting party. The vision of rapid earnings should not obscure the standard safety rules, thus it is advisable to spend a little more time and use several ways to verify the forwarder in order to reduce the risk of transaction failure to the minimum.

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