Friday, September 4, 2015

Freight and Logistics Firms Are a Great Target for Scam Artists

Don't Get Hooked by the Phishermen!
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Another day, another scam. One of the curses of publishing something like the Handy Shipping Guide is the sheer volume of trash which the various mailboxes collect every day of the week. Because we have numerous email addresses the tendency is for each one to receive their own individual, genuine mail whilst all or most get the worthless circulars and con artists. Freight and logistics seems to attract a particular breed of internet crook and, believe me, we get them all.

So here is a short round up of the cleverest, mostly received this month alone, we publish this as even the most internet savvy amongst our readers may occasionally be fooled by an incoming mail which strikes a chord and stands out from the rest as a genuine communication.

Now for example the most common one likely to fool one of our readers will be the ‘Advice of Arrival’ notice from ‘FedEx’ ‘DHL’ or any of the major parcel chains. These can also be in the form of ‘We tried to Deliver’ or ‘Enter your details HERE so we can ascertain your identity prior to delivery’ and even 'Your Statement of Account from (parcel carrier)'. As with all these scams, firstly never click on any attachments or html/hyperlinks in the body of the message. Some are however devilishly clever as is this example we highlighted last year.

Thankfully with most of these attempts to make contact a quick look at the senders address will confirm all is not well. FedEx and the like don’t tend to use email addresses ending asfrg@> and a piece we wrote reporting falsely using UPS as the carrier gives a good idea of how all these messages should be treated.

Amongst the warnings of Apple and bank account suspensions (unless you click HERE now!), the generous Lotto winners and the Minister of Finance in Benin, the displaced ex-wife of Colonel Qadaffi etc. are two more subtle scams which those involved in logistics, and in actuality that’s everybody professional or not, should be aware of.

The first, although crude, has fooled several people to our knowledge and unfortunately their motive for responding has been simple greed. At first an email arrives included in which is an Air Waybill (AWB) listing a range of exotic and expensive goods. The target then pays the ‘duty’ before the goods can be released, which of course they never are. One of the pieces we wrote on this particular type of scam gave the best advice - did you really think you’re so popular that someone you don’t even know has sent you an unsolicited gift?

The second is a play on the ‘you owe us money’ as with the classic ‘Business Directory’ scam. This one however informs the unsuspecting victim that he has entered a charging zone or passed through a toll checkpoint and been witnessed by the Automatic Number Plate Recognition System (ANPR), not an easy one to ignore for a busy company perhaps with both trucks and company cars on the road, often across several countries. To learn details of the infringement again one will have to open an attachment or click a hyperlink. Don’t. Any toll company which genuinely recognises a vehicle will write to the owner having obtained registration details, not magic an email address out of thin air, even as I write this in comes another from ‘E-Z Pass’, I think not.

So the message is – Beware! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have an Apple or relevant bank account – check who sent the message and advise the organisation of a phishing scam. If in doubt about the pedigree – bin it!