Freighters face yet another COVID-19 threat … fraud
As if the situation wasn’t challenging enough, now import and distribution is threatened by an increase in fraud and scams. 

All around the world unscrupulous fraudsters are taking advantage of the global coronavirus crisis to upscale their illegal practices.
Many organisations; including import and distribution firms, customs clearing companies, warehousing operators, plus of course manufacturers, merchandisers and retailers etc, have already discovered to their cost that their cargoes have been stolen, or that they have been conned into sending payment to the fraudster’s illegal bank account. 

The main problem is that today’s circumstances have seen many companies operating with reduced staffing levels or by more staff working remotely.
It is a situation that well-organised fraudsters have been quick to take advantage of. 

At Aerona (Air & Sea) Customs Clearing Agents we are still operating with a full complement of staff working from our offices. So we have been able to remain vigilant and have also been able to protect the interests of all our clients. 

For many import and distribution companies however, plus other organisations involved in the movement of freight around the world and across the country, the effects of this fraud with the loss of valuable cargoes and the theft of huge amounts of money, has been catastrophic. 

Our advice is that if you are planning the import and distribution of goods into the UK, or for that matter if you are involved in the international freighting of goods, then please speak to Aerona in order to increase the security of your property and finance. 

For your information, here is a brief summary of the five most current frauds and scams. 

Mandate Fraud
Taking advantage of reduced staffing levels or remote working, the criminals manage to fraudulently divert payments to their own accounts. 

CEO Fraud
Posing as a senior member of staff such as the CEO, the fraudsters use convincing emails to pressure unsuspecting staff into making payments into a fraudulent account. Very often deadline pressures are applied to make the transfer promptly. 

Consignee Theft
Posing as the consignee, the fraudsters divert delivery drivers to an illegal destination. Because of the current situation where there is an increase in storage demands coupled with reduced warehousing capacity, diversions such as these can appear to be perfectly plausible and convincing. 

Cargo Theft
The lockdown has created blockages at ports and a reduced availability of secure truck stops. Fraudsters have been quick to take advantage of this, which has resulted in an increase in theft activity. 

Procurement Fraud
Fraudsters are targeting both individuals and companies into paying invoices quickly into illegal accounts.They often cite credit rating risks and threaten legal action in order to secure prompt payments. 

At Aerona we advise everyone involved in the import and distribution of goods to be aware of these increased threats and to remain cautious at all times.  We would also strongly urge you to seek the assistance and security of a recognised and trusted partner. If you would like to discuss your import and distribution requirements with us please do not hesitate to contact us with total confidence. You can call us on: 0161 652 3443.You can also email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or you can send us an online message using the form that can be found on our Contact page.