How to Avoid Fake Shipping Line Websites and Freight Forwarding Scams


Periodically, we come across shipping scams by fraudulent people or firms impersonating freight forwarders and shipping lines.

Of course, these fraudsters and scams come in various forms, mainly by those using a similar or duplicate name or those creating a fake website to attract shippers and importers. We all know how creative they can get, even sometimes beyond our imagination.

Stealing the names of well-known and experienced shipping service providers is a common practice among scammers trying to cheat clients.

Sometimes, we come across that two or more companies in the same industry that have similar names, but it’s recommended to be cautious when you feel something is off. Scammers usually take this method to use the known company’s brand recognition to gain trust and customers for themselves.

These new businesses may be entirely scams, aimed at stealing capital, or just newly-established shipping companies trying to seem more experienced than they are. Inexperienced firms, who lack the expertise and industry network that comes with years of experience in the international shipping business, can turn out to be extremely costly for shippers and importers. 

Below are three tips on how to avoid these scams within the shipping industry.

1. Do your research.

If a new shipping company has contacted you, use a search engine like Google to research the company and try to acquire more information about them. By doing this, you’ll gain a general idea and understanding of the company and determine whether or not they seem legitimate.

2. Check the URL in your browser.

If you’re directed to a website, always make sure to check the URL. A website may look somewhat similar or the same, and trick shippers to believe that they are visiting and transacting on the correct site.

Double-checking the URL will prevent falling for this method. 99% of the time, well-established shipping companies would publicly announce if they are changing their website or URL.

3. Check the email address that is contacting you.

If you’ve been contacted via email, it’s smart to check the email address you’ve received the email from, especially if the conversation is leaning towards collecting money. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to email other contacts at this organization.

Stolen names, website scams and fraudulent emails are just a few of the fraudulent activities scammers might use.

But, they are not the only tricks to watch out for when shipping internationally. Since a great deal of money is on the line, we advise you to do in-depth research and seek recommendations when starting a business relationship with a new shipping company.