Fraudulent Freight Forwarders

The activity of Freight Forwarding has been around for many years and there has been a recent resurgence of the forwarder especially in the form of a digital freight forwarder. Unfortunately fraudulent freight forwarders have permeated this industry as well. A freight forwarder is an important service provider not just for companies importing and exporting their cargo, but also for individuals whether they are looking to relocate their entire household to another country or just ship individual items like a piano.

Like any industry, freight forwarding has its good and bad sides and it is quite easy to become a victim of fraud and most of the time, freight forwarders are not associated with the crime or fraud and they may be co-victims just like you. There are many unscrupulous elements in the market with their fake websites and fake news.

Luis Anderson, shipping coordinator, Deliver Today

Bill of lading held to ransom can happen if a scammer poses as a freight forwarder or you get stuck with a fly by night freight forwarder. They offer a ridiculously low rate which may sound very attractive to you at the time of rate negotiations. After a shipment has been effected, the freight forwarder must issue a bill of lading. Without it, you will not be allowed to take possession of your shipment. This type of fraud often happens after the goods are packed and shipped from the port of loading. Instead of getting this important document, you will receive an email asking you to pay certain additional amounts of money citing various issues.

They will offer cheap rates with only one goal in mind – stealing your shipment. Because once you hand over your cargo to the freight forwarder, you don’t have visibility of your cargo anymore till there is some documentary proof like a freight forwarder’s receipt or bill of lading after the shipment. You may often receive messages claiming to be from the freight forwarder your contracted informing you of changes in banking details and asking for the freight and other charges to be sent to that account. It is very possible that scammers have hacked your forwarder’s account or are phishing you to get the money into their account.


  1. A freight forwarder can be a person or a company which organizes and plans your shipment, as well as getting cargo from the point of origin to the destination point. They may not always move your cargo physically, but they do simplify the process by communicating with all the people and moving parts that are involved.

    1. Before accepting an order it is important to verify the reviews among other enterprises that cooperated with the contracting party. It can be done by means of transport exchanges or credit information agencies.

  2. You should know the normal shipping costs. Get multiple quotes from multiple freight forwarders which will give you an idea if the amount offered by the freight forwarder is legitimate or not. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the prices are too low or too high, it may be the first sign of fraud.

    1. Denis Roneld says:

      It is important to start with a careful verification of the company, e.g. in various registers or on the Internet, and contacting its representatives through a personally found e-mail address and landline telephone number.

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