At the start of 2020 we thought it might be helpful to you if we explain some of the in’s and out’s of making sure you partner up with a reputable freight forwarding company. To be able to choose the good, you have to know about the bad. Thus, in this article we would like to talk about fake freight forwarders and, in particular, how to avoid the pesky buggers!
Unfortunately, some of us have been caught in a scam of some kind or another. You think that an individual is there to help you through a difficult process when, in fact, they are only trying to trick you into giving them your hard-earned cash for nothing in return.
Fraudulent individuals and companies alike are on the rise, impersonating people you’re supposed to be able to trust without concern. We here at Dedicated Freight would hate to see anyone who is simply trying to get cargo from one place to another, get cheated.
2 Most Common Freight Forwarder Scams
There are two specific schemes most commonly used by unscrupulous individuals or companies. It’s important for you to be able to identify them, and how to thwart them.
What is a Same-Name Scheme?
Just as the name suggests, this is when a company names their scheme down to the letter after an existing freight forwarder. The most prevalent explanation for this is that it’s a scammer trying to gain the trust of a potential victim by having the name of a trusted freight forwarder.
How to Avoid a Same-Name Scheme
Check the URL
If the company name is misspelled in the URL of the website, it’s likely a fraudulent company. Another red flag is if the freight forwarder does not have its own domain, but is instead using a free hosting site such as Wix, Hubspot. WordPress, etc. Real freight forwarders would have their own domains.
Unusual URLs are also a common occurrence when scammers are afoot. The legitimate company will have beat the frauds to the dotcom domain. This brings us to the next way of checking a company’s legitimacy:
Google the Name
If you Google a company name and another, older, more established company also appears in the results, then it’s definitely a cause for concern.
Sometimes it’s not even a company trying to establish trust with an existing company’s clientele, but instead just an individual posing as a freight forwarder to charge you for services they cannot provide.
Stolen Website Scheme
What is a Stolen Website Scheme?
It’s easy for a scammer to get caught when they have a website that is full of language errors. This is why they often simply duplicate the content on the existing website and claim it as their own. You might think that you are looking at a very well put together website, when in fact none of it is legitimate.
How to Avoid a Stolen Website Scheme
Check the Quality of the Logo
Since the scammers who clone a website need to jump through numerous hoops to duplicate an existing company’s website, they would need to change their logo to match the new name they’ve chosen for the scam.
More often than not, this is done with poor quality. The logo might look pixelated, or colours inside letters that have closed loops, such as “e” or “o”.
Check Consistency of Content
Often, things like blogs or videos copied from another website will still contain the original references – such as the original company name, entry dates, etc – used when the content was created. This is a way for you to recognise whether the content is legitimate.
Take care when selecting service providers to work with. Do some homework – establish a procedure within your company that guides you and/or your staff through
a process of doing some background checks on companies before proceeding to do business with them to mitigate the risk of falling prey to the next scam.
From the Dedicated Freight team we would like to wish you a prosperous 2020 and remember, for any advice, we are just a phone call away!