Warning on Freight Forwarding Scam

The government’s ACSC (Australian Cyber Security Centre) has issued a warning on a scam that targets small exporting businesses and freight forwarders.


The ACSC has issued a warning to suppliers of goods and to freight forwarders, to be vigilant in their dealings with new customers, cold callers and what may appear to be a ‘legitimate enquiry’. To date, the cyber criminals have yielded more than $700,000 through what has been termed freight forwarding scams.

Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Notice

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is warning small to medium sized businesses supplying IT and electrical products of a social engineered email scam requesting quotes on goods.

The scammers spoof domains, emails and signature blocks of legitimate Executives of universities or large Australian enterprises. For example, they use lendleases.com.au instead of lendlease.com.au.

Using the assumed identity, the scammers approach SMEs requesting quotes and delivery of IT including hard drives and laptops or technical goods such as defibrillators, environmental/gas/electrical monitoring equipment and even cosmetics. If the victim responds to the quote, the scammers attempt to gain credit by either delaying payment through excuses, or requesting payment on the invoice on 30 or 14 days credit.

The victim organisation is then directed to send the goods to an Australian freight forwarding company and handed to another scammer who manages the delivery phase. The name on the delivery contact is almost always different to the original scammer.

The scammers then attempt to scam the freight company, by providing payment through stolen credit cards or on credit. They request shipment to a number of different locations overseas, such as Dagenham, UK, Deira, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Singapore.

Once dispatched, there is little chance of recovery.

How to protect yourself

There are a number of ways you can protect yourself and your business from becoming victim to this Business Email Compromise freight scam:
- Ensure due diligence on new customers – don’t trust cold callers
- Always check the domain
- Contact the company by phone and confirm the order and the contact are genuine
- Check the Purchase Order carefully; there are often obvious mistakes
- Validate the customer before providing any credit
- Confirm that the delivery address is a genuine address for that company

If you think you have been compromised, please talk to us and we will advise you on the best course of action to take. Colless Young Pty Ltd offers you a full range of services as licensed Customs Brokers and International freight forwarders.