A ship agent received an e-mail from who they thought was their principal, but the agent had failed to notice that the e-mail addresswas slightly different to the correct address. The e-mail notified the agent that the bank details of the principal had changed and that funds were to be sent to the new bank account. The new bank account was in a different country with no apparent link to the principal.
The ship agent failed to carry out any checks and duly transferred US$ 53,000 to the new bank account.
Over time it became apparent that the principal had not received the funds and that the ship agent had been the victim of fraud and paid the funds into the wrong account. ITIC reimbursed the agent for the full amount.
ITIC has seen a large number of these frauds. The majority of victims and intended victims have been ship brokers and ship agents but ITIC has received reports from members carrying out a wide range of activities.
Anyone making a payment could be the target of fraudsters. Any message purporting to change bank account details should be regarded with suspicion.
ITIC reminds all members when transferring funds to use the telephone to check the account details with a trusted representative at the recipient’s office. Simple checks will defeat the fraudsters.