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Customs investigating a scam involving fictitious cargo

02.31pm 13 June 2024

Customs has been notified of a scam involving a suspect acting as a freight forwarder.

The suspect has been emailing shipping documents to customs brokers that appear to be for an imminent goods import. The suspect also includes an invoice in the shipping documents for freight and other handling costs, requesting immediate payment. In some cases, the businesses targeted pay the invoice and create an import entry for the goods before realising there are no goods.

Customs’ investigation is ongoing and it is encouraging businesses to remain vigilant .

Red flags to look out for:

  • Emails from freight forwarders that you don’t normally deal with requesting immediate payment for freight, storage, or other administrative services
  • Shipping documents with date discrepancies
  • Offset digits on waybills (waybill numbers)
  • Offset or out of place text on waybills or invoices
  • Shipping documents for goods that seem inconsistent with the client business.

What to do if you’re suspicious:

  • Contact the consignee to confirm they are expecting a shipment
  • Check with the shipper to confirm they shipped the goods
  • Contact Customs to report the suspicious activity. Call either Border Protect on 0800 WE PROTECT or your Customs contact.