On September 15th 2021 the South Australia Police warned citizens about a lot of citizens falling victim to a new scam involving buying wholesale shipping containers. Here's their press release:
"South Australia Police have identified an increase in online shopping scams, particularly involving the purchase of shipping containers.
Unsuspecting victims are ordering shipping containers online, only to later discover that the website they were using was fake.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of businesses moving online and the significant increase in market prices of shipping containers. Scammers are cloning legitimate websites and passing them off as their own, duping victims out of large sums of money.
It is not until after the expected build timeframe is complete that victims realize that they have been scammed, often losing around $5000. Police have identified similar methodology being used across social media marketplaces.
Tips to keep yourself safe:
- Shipping containers are not cheap! Be suspicious of low cost containers which cost a lot more from other suppliers.
- Conduct your own research as websites can look professional, but may still not be legitimate
- Use a search engine to conduct independent research into the business - never trust reviews or testimonials from the website itself
- Check the email and website address carefully
- Ask to inspect the container before you buy"
So that was what the police broadcasted, but I would like to add a few Tips to their list:
- Check other search engines for reviews. For example, if you see great reviews on Google, go to Bing.com and DuckDuckGo.com and look up the same company. You will likely see different results.
- READ the reviews. I mean, really read the reviews. If all of the reviews sound like they were written by the same person they probably were. Look at reviews on Facebook and Google that allow you to click on the reviewers avatar. Clearly the person doesn't mind leaving reviews so you should be able to see all of the other reviews they have left. If every single review was left by a person who has left no other reviews, this should be a red flag.
- Don't hesitate to use sites like Reddit to ask people if they have any experience with the company. You can also use Reddit to look up the company name.
- Look up the company on a government licensing site to see if its a "real" company and how long it has been in business.
- Use a site like Way Back Machine to see how long the website has been in existence
- The BBB is NOT a government agency. Even IF the website is displaying the BBB logo it does not mean anything at all. Read our blog post about the BBB.
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