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Shipping container scams in the media

In scams Posted March 29, 2023 at 11:47 am
By Helen Georgantonis

Shipping container scam

Last year a series of shipping container scams attracted a lot of attention. The scammers impersonated several legitimate businesses in the freight and related industries, including Magellan Logistics, using our trading names, ABN and logo on websites and Facebook pages. We received a number of calls from people who scammers had duped.  After the shipping containers they paid for failed to arrive, they contacted us to make enquiries. Magellan does not sell shipping containers, so we had to break the news to several people that they had been scammed.

We reported the scam to ScamWatch, the Australian Cyber Security Centre, Facebook, Westpac, Border Force and Victoria Police.  We also wrote to our clients and posted on social media to warn people – Shipping Container Scams – Magellan Logistics. We also responded to the ABC’s 7:30 program when they put the call out to the public to let them know of scams that have affected them.

We were not victims in this situation beyond the small risk to our reputation and the concern our client services team and other staff felt when fielding calls from sometimes distressed people. Happily, many of the calls were also from people doing their due diligence before purchasing, and we were pleased to be able to put them on the right path. Lots of people have asked why did we take it so far?  The answer is that our Fundamentals guided us.

Our first Fundamental is Do the Right Thing, Always, so we didn’t have to search far to find the best way to handle the situation we found ourselves in with the shipping container scams. For us,  Do the Right Thing means demonstrating an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing in every action we take and every decision we make, especially when no one’s looking. Always tell the truth, no matter the consequences. If we make a mistake, we own up to it, apologise, and make it right.  In this instance, we hadn’t made a mistake, but we were in unfamiliar territory and needed some advice on how best to navigate.

The Magellan Fundamentals is a set of 25 behaviours, principles, and practices that are the foundation of our culture. They inform how we relate to our clients, each other, and our partners and suppliers. The Fundamentals are who we are, and they drive our success. We have chosen to be intentional about our culture in the same way as we are about sales, marketing and finance because it makes sense. We believe it benefits our businesses. It helps us attract and retain the best talent, improve productivity, increase staff engagement with Magellan and our mission, preserve and protect our culture in times of change and uncertainty and enhance the reputation and image of Magellan.

Yesterday, the ABC ran a series of stories across their various platforms addressing the ongoing shipping container scams and included an interview with one of our staff members.  The report also had a call from the ACCC to the Government to introduce new obligations on social media companies. The obligations recommended included the mandatory removal of scams and scammers from the platform, improving how users can report scams and more robust methods to guarantee businesses are who they say they are. The ABC’s enquiries with Meta (Facebook’s parent company) also resulted in the fake pages being removed – something our constant reporting of the scam and beach of our intellectual property had been unsuccessful in achieving to date.

Shipping container scams on the rise, as ACCC calls on providers like Facebook to act – ABC News

Steps you can take to ensure you don’t fall for shipping container scams:

  • Be wary of discounts. Shipping containers are not cheap, and prices tend to escalate during peak demand. The current market price for a 20′ container is around $2 – 3,000. During the pandemic, prices were considerably higher.
  • Verify the business. Request some evidence, such as a business registration certificate, liability insurance, and bank account proof of ownership. Look for evidence of a full address, a publicly listed phone number, Google location information, third-party site mentions, and reviews. And ensure they have a .com.au website address. Also, check that the ABN matches the published business name precisely via ABN Lookup.
  • Google shipping container scams.
  • Call the phone number they give you. Ask lots of questions about locations and containers. Do they sound genuine?
  • Check email and website addresses. Most legitimate businesses do not use free email accounts such as Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook.
  • Ask to look at the container. Before you buy a shipping container, you should inspect it. Don’t deal with any provider who is not transparent and declines an inspection.

Magellan Logistics provides freight and logistics services to all industries, including sea freight, air freight, customs clearance and the all-important digital freight portal providing 24/7 visibility of all your shipments. If you or someone you know thinks you may be dealing with a scam shipping container reseller masquerading as Magellan Logistics. Get in touch with one of our freight specialists on 1300 651 888.

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