How to avoid Fraudulent freight forwarders and their scams


  • Many customers are scammed by freight forwarders
  • There are ways to identify genuine freight forwarders
  • There are also ways to protect yourself from being scammed

The activity of Freight Forwarding has been around for many years and there has been a recent resurgence of the forwarder especially in the form of a digital freight forwarder

While there are many genuine freight forwarders, unfortunately fraudulent freight forwarders have permeated this industry as well

fraudulent freight forwarders - shipping and freight resourceA freight forwarder is an important service provider not just for companies importing and exporting their cargo, but also for individuals whether they are looking to relocate their entire household to another country or just ship individual items like a piano

Like any industry, freight forwarding has its good and bad sides and it is quite easy to become a victim of fraud and most of the time, freight forwarders are not associated with the crime or fraud, and they may be co-victims just like you

There are many unscrupulous elements in the market with their fake websites and fake news pretending to be able to handle your shipments and naturally you may be suspicious and rightfully so


 

Here are some ways you may be taken for a ride by fraudulent freight forwarders

1) Bill of lading held to ransom – This can happen if a scammer poses as a freight forwarder, or you get stuck with a fly by night freight forwarder They offer a ridiculously low rate which may sound incredibly attractive to you at the time of rate negotiations

After a shipment has been effected, the freight forwarder must issue a bill of lading Without it, you will not be allowed to take possession of your shipment

This type of fraud often happens after the goods are packed and shipped from the port of loading Instead of getting this important document, you will receive an email asking you to pay certain additional amounts of money citing various issues If you do not pay this, you may not receive your goods

2) Cargo Theft – They will offer cheap rates with only one goal in mind – stealing your shipment Because once you hand over your cargo to the freight forwarder, you do not have visibility of your cargo anymore till there is some documentary proof like a freight forwarder’s receipt or bill of lading after the shipment

3) Change of bank details – You may often receive messages claiming to be from the freight forwarder your contracted informing you of changes in banking details and asking for the freight and other charges to be sent to that account

It is very possible that scammers have hacked your forwarder’s account or are phishing you to get the money into their account

4) Lack of transparency – At the time of discussions on shipping and rate negotiations, you may get a cheaper rate which you like

But after the shipment reaches its destination, your consignee might be charged few charges that were not discussed or was supposed to have been paid by the shipper, but the freight forwarder did not declare those charges to get the business from the shipper and does not care once the goods have been shipped

 

How to Avoid Being a Victim?

Fortunately, there are many ways you can avoid being a victim of fraudulent freight forwarders

1) First things first, you need to understand the role of a freight forwarder and what functions they are required to carry out

A freight forwarder can be a person or a company which organizes and plans your shipment, as well as getting cargo from the point of origin to the destination point They may not always move your cargo physically, but they do simplify the process by communicating with all the people and moving parts that are involved

The whole process involves many parts and people, making things a little more complicated for an average person or company who do have neither the means nor knowledge to handle this

So always do the research on this and seek recommendations from business associates, friends and family who may have used reliable freight forwarders

2) Understand the mode of transport your goods require:

  • Air freight – for a quicker but more expensive mode of transport for international or domestic shipping, usually chosen for smaller volumes of cargo
  • Ocean Freight – for a cheaper and most environmental mode of transport for international or domestic shipping, you can use ocean freight usually used for the carriage of large volumes of cargo
  • Road Freight – for a quick delivery from door to door either locally, regionally or between various countries within a bloc, road freight is the most common mode of shipping Usually cheaper on short hauls
  • Railway Freight – for long haul deliveries where there is a requirement to carry large volumes of cargo either locally, regionally or between various countries within a bloc or these days even between continents

3) Know your trading terms Those are not everyday terms we use, so before you hire a forwarding company to transport your cargo, do some thorough research Understand what charges will apply for your shipment when using various Incoterms This will protect you from fraudulent companies who may start charging you with illegitimate fees

4) You should know the normal shipping costs Get multiple quotes from multiple freight forwarders which would give you an idea if the amount offered by the freight forwarder is legitimate or not If it seems too good to be true, it probably is If the prices are too low or too high, it may be the first sign of fraud

5) Always watch for fake numbers and addresses Always pay attention when checking the validity of your freight forwarding company You can check their legitimacy from their websites But at the same time also be aware and beware of fake websites

 

How to identify legitimate Freight Forwarders?

Apart from the obvious global or big freight forwarders that you may know locally, there are a few ways to identify legitimate freight forwarders

Pay attention to below points on their websites:

  1. People photos – On the website, look out for photos of the team including the Managing Director, management team and board members. Not the stock photos
  2. Social media – links like LinkedIn, Twitter etc will further boost credibility
  3. Pictures of shipments – This is always a good bonus If you see real people doing real things, while having the company’s logo, you are in the right place
  4. ‘Contact Us’ – Another important part of the website is a place where you can ask any questions, leave comments, or just find important phone numbers and email addresses
  5. Visit – If your freight forwarder is in the same city as you are, it may be best to pay them a visit to ascertain their legitimacy
  6. Photos from meetings – many forwarders have Annual General Meetings of their networks If they were part of it, they should have pictures to prove it
  7. Video – A YouTube video is great insurance Even a short one, including answers to some frequently asked questions, should prove validity
  8. Brochure – Everything is easier with a brochure Either on paper or online, all legitimate freight forwarders have brochures

 

Have you had any experience with fraudulent freight forwarders and how did you tackle it?


article reposted after updates - shipping and freight resource

*** End of Article ***

54 thoughts on “How to avoid Fraudulent freight forwarders and their scams”

  1. Please note that here in the USA the Ocean Freight Forwarder is licensed by the FMC (Federal Maritime Commission) and they gave a certificate, this is not an overnight procedure to be a licensed Forwarder. This not an acknowledgement of honesty or integrity. Many Ocean Freight Forwarders are also involved in many ways of transportation depending on the needs of the client
    I worked for 40 years in the industry and there are always the dishonest ones, it is best to contact a national brand or international one and to check them out before you get involved. Note that some Forwarders are conglomerates with their own offices all around the world and others have agents to represent them, this representation usually has many years and if not they have been vested to be agents of the National forwarder.
    You as the shipper or buyer must take in consideration the cost, but always keep in mind the cheapest does not mean savings.

    Reply
  2. I dealt with a person by the name of Sophia Chung Madison who apperently ships her or his goods through secides which is a total scam. I got ripped for 4900 us dollars and on top was for my business as well as health. Authorities couldnt do a thing, lost my home and had a substantial heart attack afterwards. Damn scammers need to be hung, all of them

    Reply
  3. Is Green Comfort on Alibabba a scam? Also African Logistic Services Shipping Company are they any good? Or is it fraudulent??

    Reply
  4. Yup! At this point I am pretty sure this “company” is fake. On Alibaba someone is posing as Zhengzhou “Aiqura Intelligent Technology Co Ltd” as a supplier.
    +1 (909) 375-1731 WhatsApp
    They are saying I owe customs $250 on top of my $300 purchase that includes free shipping. The shipper is this link here
    https://www.transxfremovers.com

    They gave me a tracking number. When looking it up though this shipping company it shows that my shipment is stuck. The phone number and email address I can’t get any kind of response from. The phone doesn’t even have a company voicemail recording.

    Reply
    • i bought on alibaba from a colin thomas from Shanghai Saferlifts Machinery Co., Ltd. and Renqiu Xinchuang Trade Co. Ltd. They pretended they send too many GPU so the package was on hold on custom service. Tried to call many times never been answered and the number is no longer available.

      Transxfremovers are scammers

  5. watch out for these criminals (Shenzhen Yu Cheng International Logistics Co., Ltd.) They’re on Ali Baba like poisonous snakes robbing hardworking people

    Reply
  6. Is Flare Logistics (www.flareslogistics.com) a legitimate freight company. I paid shipping fees when I purchased a product, but now am being asked to pay an additional $300 for “insurance fees” that will be refunded to me once my package arrives. I unfortunately bought ammunition from someone. I feel like I’m being scammed by the seller and this shipper now…

    Reply
    • I received a email from Polar shipping and logistics probably almost every day since May. Was about a package for me from the UK. First some taxes were not paid so i wound up paying almmost $16,000 to them. Thinking i would recieve the Pkg., I received another notice from them that to receive the pkg. i had to pay $34,740.58 for an anti terrorist certificate. Well thank God the manager at my bank stopped me. They are still after me to pay. texkihl@yahoo.com

  7. Lynx global freight held my pkg coming from Cali to NY hostage. Texted me for insurance deposit of $750 in BTC then a fee for a green seal to pass security for $1000 in BTC. Said it had been Confiscated and the dea was Coming to arrest me unless I paid $5000. Wanted pix of our license both sides. Told them nice try. You don’t get arrested for vegetable plants. Pkg never came and no more texts from them and the”dea”, lol!

    Reply
  8. IContainers is a scam. They defrauded us out of $12,000 asking for ridiculous amounts after getting our bill of lading.

    Reply
  9. I have just discovered a new group of fraudsters from China. One is the supplier and insists on quick payment, if he can no longer send it like a boss. The boss continues the transaction and deceives the buyer that he has to pay the duty in DHL and that he will not send the shipment. I have photos of one of them claiming to be a DHL employee. He showed me the employee’s card, probably a fake. I will provide all the data below, I do not know where to paste the photos. gives phone numbers of scammers WhatsApp +1(208)213-2171 the scammer’s second associate pretends to be the boss and is on the Telegram +1 620-312-7085 messenger, the third works separately +1 (561) 320-2734. Ahmed Hashim Murad personnel No. 2031871060 Expires 12/31/2020 this is the data from his card, I also have a photo and videos.

    Reply
  10. Adam to
    Bill Murphey
    I was cheated and so were you. Fortunately, for a small amount, but significant for me. I ordered graphics cards and paid in BTC cryptocurrency. Then he asked for a larger purchase and a transfer of money. It’s the same man, he was on Alibaba.com but I haven’t found him anymore. scam phone +1(561)320-2734. It is on WhatsApp.

    Reply
  11. Montest cargo logistics is a scam and it hard to tell it a fake website because they keep asking for more money every stop the flight has larger and larger amounts anther thing is when you try to call them they dont pickup the phone and you never receive your cargo

    Reply
  12. Cargo trans courinc are scam, they give you fake tracking number, pretending they sending you product, and then your product gets stuck in customs in some random country, and they ask for more money to be able to send it to you. When you ask from information and customs form, they never provide it. Dont trust these guys and never order from them. They are connected to seller Obell Ventures International on tradewheel.com and other platforms. The contact number is from New Jersey pretending to be from somewhere else . The phone number is +1 (973) 556-7513 .They are reported to USA government consumer protection agency.

    Reply
  13. Is Kingston Express . com a scam?

    My parent shipped $40K in lumber through them and the goods haven’t been received for 2+ months?

    Reply
  14. I can confirm that the following companies are complete fraud and will ONLY steal your money. This has been confirmed by Norwegian Customs.

    Carrier. CargTransCourInc.com
    The company goes under the full name: Cargo Transporter Courier Inc.
    They provide fake trackingnumbers and are working with fraudulent sellers on Alibaba.com. You will never recieve any goods, except paying more and more for “insurance fee”, “delivery man fee”, “customs fee” “import fee” and so on. The shipment dont even exist. They go the extra mile with counterfeiting customs declarations as well.

    The seller on Alibaba that is completely fraud is: Linyi City Luozhuang Area Luoxi Plastic Production. They sell their name to people with bad intentions so they can make ads on Alibaba under their account. Watch out for one name: James Morgan. Completely an awful person that goes on to threatening you if you dont pay more. They also operate with “store keeper made a mistake” and “ships” a lot more than the actual agreement. Of course also a part of the fraud.

    And the last one; Simeon Lucas. Total fraud. Steals your money and provide fake trackinginfo.

    Reply
    • Yes I had same problem with them going thru Tradewheel.com and the fake company that they are using is Obell Ventures International. I wanted to buy some Graphic cards and they sent me tracking number on the site which give the impression that your product is shipped, but they always want more money in the customs or they fake that they send you wrong order and you need to pay more money to get it out. When you ask for paper work from customs they never send it. The contact person phone number is 1(561)320-2734. The person I payed to was danielireland20@gmail.com. If anyone can find out who these people are it will be greatly appreciated. I already reported the account to Federal trade commission. I am on mission to destroy these guys, any help is valuable. I am not stopping.

    • @Bill Murphey, thank you. I am in phase one discussions with Obell Ventures International (representative: Aanu Alejandro) ref: buying bulk quantity of graphics cards. A couple of things seems off about them from the very start :
      1. Their website doesn’t exist.
      2. They don’t have a registered company number.
      3. Price of the graphics card are $200 under RRP per piece.
      4. Country of supply changed from UK to HK during our chat.

      You’ve just saved me a lot of hassle, and money. Thank you, sir.

  15. Is jimmijuanda a logistics a legit company. I have a package coming from Indonesia. I tracked it to New York and there website like disappeared its been like 3 months. I can’t get no response on my emails or phone calls.just wondering if i got scammed?

    Reply
  16. Is Aer Logistics a scam? I’m from Philippines and I don’t know if the package I am waiting for will arrive at the indicated date of arrival.

    Reply
  17. I have problem with Woniry Ltd
    They blocked a package that I wait from more than a week, asking me an additional cost for an “insurance”, ( 1830 euros!!! ) to ship me this package containing dermal fillers. How can I do to have it without paying this absourd cost? I never asked to have an additional insurance! And the cost is completely crazy. They didn’t tell me this issue before shipping. If I knew, I never accept: the courier I’d chosen from the shipper and not from me. And the package doesn’t contain anything strange!

    Reply
    • Connie,
      I have not. However, the process I was working on ended up being a scam, fortunately we figured it was and never heard back from the originator of the order.

    • Hi Brian, one Switzerland company wants to make an order with us, they suggested to send the goods by ShipGlow International Freight Ltd. did you have the similar situation? thank you for your answer.

    • I have just received an order from someone in Switzerland wanting me to ship through ShipGlo.
      It sounds like a scam to me and I will not be proceeding with the order. They want me to forward the items, then invoice them. I notice that your ShipGlow has a w on the end. I visited another website Ship Globally that didn’t look entirely legit. to me, bur I don’t normally ship overseas.

  18. Good day,..i just like to know f Fast Post shipping Cargo is a legitimate company ,.i have anticipated package from overseas but this company replied my email that i have to pay tax and clearance charges because of the expensive valuables inside such package,.. unless i make the payment they will not deliver the package to me.

    Reply
  19. Good article.
    There are scams by the side of clients too, as a FFWW received an email about a very profitable shipment, then searching in google we discovered that is a way of scam. If you are interested in that case contact me, I can sent you the emails for your next article.
    Best regards.

    Reply

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