What is container fraud?
Unfortunately, incidents of container fraud are rising with many individuals and companies paying for non-existent containers that are never delivered and, in fact, don’t even exist. South Africa has become a primary target.
There are many bogus companies on the internet, using digital advertising to lure unsuspecting people into paying over money for containers that never arrive. It’s important to be hyper aware of these scams and to investigate these companies thoroughly.
This situation is of great concern as these bogus companies will set up websites that look genuine, or they will hi-jack genuine company websites or they will clone a genuine company’s website – watch out for indicators such as a dash in the url or a .co.za domain when the genuine company has a .com domain. Bogus companies often also spend a lot of money advertising on Google, Facebook and the like – it is their only operating expense, after all.
That being said, genuine container supply companies also ensure they have good, professional websites and also advertise in digital media. So how do you differentiate the good from the bad?
To this end, the Container Fraud Prevention website has been established, with the primary aim of protecting the public against container fraud and spreading awareness of the many methods used to trick people into buying non-existent or stolen containers.
You need to know if your supplier is genuine or a scammer. The problem is you have no way of finding out. Container Fraud Prevention offers a solution – the team searches out fraudsters and provides certification as to what companies are valid suppliers.
A number of useful purchase tips can be found on the website and we recommend that you follow these if you intend buying a container.
The website also has a supplier verification database. Use this to check whether the company you are dealing with is listed on the system. Companies are listed as fraudulent if they have been reported to Container Fraud Prevention and the organisation has investigated and proven they are, indeed, scamsters. Should you or your company have fallen victim to a bogus container supply company that is not listed on this database, be sure to report it to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much detail as possible.
The supplier verification database will also list companies that are not fraudulent and will also indicate companies which are premium members of Container Fraud Prevention and with whom you can deal with in complete safety. Container Conversions (Pty) Ltd is proud to be a member of the Container Fraud Prevention entity.
Safeguard yourself against container fraud:
- Check whether the company is registered on CIPC (http://www.cipc.co.za/index.php/find-enterprise-ip-informatr/name-corporate-entity/).
- Check how long the company has been in existence (less than a year is usually a red flag).
- Check the physical address/es for the company – in particular, the depot address for storage of the containers.
- Insist on a physical inspection of the container
- Check whether there have been complaints about the company loaded to Hello Peter.
- Check whether the company has a presence on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- Check the grammar and spelling on the company’s website. If language and spelling is poor, that is usually another red flag.
- Ensure you receive other quotes – if the quote is way below that of other companies, be wary. Here is a link to a pricing guide for containers.
- Be aware that there is currently a worldwide shortage of containers – if you have been quoted R10 000 for a container, it is unlikely that container even exists.
- And, finally and most importantly, use the website Container Fraud Prevention and check whether the company is registered or marked as fraudulent.
Always remember the old adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”