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In the supply chain

Our border is not just at airports – it’s everywhere where people or goods could enter our country, including our sea ports, coastlines and international freight arrival points.

Cross-border crime can occur in any of these places, and the signs can be visible within your community or workplace.

You can help protect New Zealand by reporting unusual activity in your community and around our coast - or in your workplace, if it’s within the supply chain.

If your organisation operates within the supply chain, you can play an important role in protecting New Zealand from cross-border crime, including drug smuggling. Be alert to the signs of cross-border crime, which may vary depending on the nature of your supply chain business and the work or activities that happen there.

You know what normal looks like.  Keep your business safe by asking questions and doing checks.  If you think a shipment, situation or interaction is not normal, or there’s a reason to turn away business, it’s a reason to report.

For any supply chain business

Keep your business safe.  Be alert to people who:

  • breach or bypass security processes
  • are more nervous or anxious than normal
  • access places they shouldn’t
  • access goods they shouldn’t
  • access places or systems out of hours or on days off
  • ask others to overlook/ignore security breaches
  • don’t follow procedures or processes
  • appear secretive
  • are dismissive or defensive if challenged
  • allow access to places or goods by unknown people
  • are possessive or pay undue attention to particular shipments
  • don’t want to take leave and appear nervous about others acting in their roles
  • suddenly display unexpected wealth
  • approach you offering cash to subvert normal process e.g. requesting an item be placed into a package or container without it being accounted for

In and around any supply chain businesses

Look out for customers who:

  • seem to be trying to conceal their identity or are reluctant to provide personal information
  • are importing commercial goods but don’t appear to be a legitimate company or have limited knowledge about importation processes or the type of goods they are importing
  • are difficult to contact or obtain necessary information from
  • provide import documents with incorrect, misspelled, or incomplete details, and in particular misspelt addresses and company names
  • attempt to collect shipments without appropriate documents
  • pay fees in unusual manners or via third parties   
  • provide identification that appears false or belongs to someone else
  • ask questions about law enforcement activities
  • change the delivery details, or arrange deliveries to locations other than business premises e.g. requesting commercial goods be delivered to a residential address

If you deal with documents

Look out for unusual paperwork or details such as:

  • vague or unclear goods descriptions
  • documents have spelling mistakes and in particular company names and addresses
  • documents may appear false or crudely created
  • details on an invoice differ to those on a packaging list e.g. reference numbers, quantities, goods description etc.
  • an importer’s inability or reluctance to provide all documents in a timely manner or the paperwork provided is incomplete
  • the method of import doesn’t match the type of goods e.g. low value or heavy goods being unnecessarily shipped using high cost freight streams
  • the weight of the goods doesn’t match the value or description e.g. goods are heavier than expected
  • the value of the goods does not appear reasonable or realistic
  • all communication for an import by an NZ company is made through someone based offshore, where the client is not previously known and trusted
  • the importer cannot be properly identified e.g. only a first name is provided
  • if communicating with the client regarding documents, the ‘importer’ does not appear to have a good understanding of processes, the nature of their import, and cannot answer standard questions easily
  • email addresses that don’t match the importer or supplier e.g. the company name doesn’t feature within the email address, or a well known supplier has an email address from a free domain (ie. Yahoo, Gmail, Mail).
  • the type of goods don’t match the importer (e.g. golf carts going to a furniture shop)
  • the details for the importer are hard to verify or they appear to have a very limited footprint – for example, the business has a name but the address and/or delivery details don’t relate, no information on the internet, no associated email/postal addresses
  • the method or process of payment for any fees appears to be unusual or suspicious

If you interact with clients

Be aware of clients who:

  • are unable or reluctant to provide all documents in a timely manner or provide paperwork that is incomplete
  • only communicate with you using someone who is based offshore or where the New Zealand-based importer is not previously known and trusted by your company
  • do not appear to have a good understanding of processes, the nature of their import, and cannot answer standard questions easily
  • question law enforcement processes
  • are unwilling to provide contact details or you have difficulty in contacting the importer including contact details that don’t work
  • provide details which are hard to verify or they appear to have a very limited footprint e.g. the business has a name but the address and/or delivery details don’t relate, no information readily accessible on the internet, no associated email/postal addresses
  • provide delivery arrangements are suspicious, change, or are not normal
  • request multiple redirections for delivery for the same or similar goods, and possibly to addresses that do not exist or do not appear to be legitimate addresses
  • make redirection requests for business goods to be delivered to residential addresses
  • initially claim an import or package is for them but then change their story e.g. that the package is for a friend
  • demonstrate aggressive behaviour, or make frequent or persistent calls to you about collection or delivery of a consignment. These calls may also be made by different people regarding the same import/package

If you work in a warehouse or interact with goods

Look out for packages, goods or shipping containers with:

  • numbers that don’t match the paperwork. These may include incorrect seal numbers on a container or different bill numbers
  • missing seals on a shipping container
  • descriptions that don’t seem to match the shape, size, or weight
  • different sizes, shapes, or weights when the description indicates that the contents are the same
  • excessive packaging or signs of damage, modification or tampering, including modification or tampering with a shipping container or aircan
  • unusual smells
  • instructions which may be used to deter any law enforcement examination like ‘do not open’
  • a hotel, motel, hostel, vacant lot, empty house, or even your own business listed as the delivery address
  • an importer that refuses to provide a physical delivery address
  • an importer who attempts to uplift or access goods with incomplete or incorrect paperwork

Are involved in arranging the delivery or undertake the actual delivery of goods

Be aware of:

  • clients who seem unsure of delivery details for commercial goods, or change delivery addresses
  • clients who request delivery of commercial goods to places other than a business premises e.g. storage units or residential addresses
  • clients who provide delivery addresses to properties that are vacant, are under construction, do not exist, or are empty sections
  • people who receive goods who are visibly nervous
  • clients who seek last minute changes to a delivery address e.g. to an alternate nearby residential address
  • people who approach you outside an address and claim that the goods are for them or a friend, or requests a different delivery address
  • Goods with famous or celebrity names being used on packages (possibly misspelled)
  • make unusual redirection requests or suspicious redelivery instructions
  • provide a delivery address, however the occupants of that address are not expecting the item or the item is not addressed to any occupants at the address
  • If possible do not deliver the item and instead return the item to your depot and contact Customs, however remember that your safety is paramount and as such if you feel unsafe then deliver the goods and instead please advise Customs of the situation and any relevant information you can recall e.g. addresses, vehicle registrations, descriptions of people etc. 

You know your environment. If it doesn’t seem right, report it.

Your tip could make a difference. You do not have to provide any personal information to make a report.

If you work in the supply chain and identify a suspect shipment then please contact the Customs-controlled Area (CCA) team on:

The CCA team can be contacted on:

If you identify a suspicious activity or behaviour then you can report confidentially on


Help share the message

Customs has developed fliers that are targeted at brokers, courier drivers, call centre staff, and freight forwarders.  You can download the materials to display in your workplace here:

If it’s an emergency

Call 111 and ask for Police when:

  • someone is badly injured or in danger
  • there's a serious risk to life or property
  • a crime is being committed and the offenders are still there or have just left
  • it's happening now or has just happened.

This information is available on the New Zealand Police website.

Before you report