A ship agent received a request from a ship owner to deliver cash to Master of US$ 45,000 during a forthcoming call. Funds were remitted and received by the ship agent.
A few days later the ship agent received a call from a supply company and then from the Master. They were told that instead of delivering the full amount to the Master, they should first deduct part of the amount as payment for fresh provisions. These would be delivered to the ship during her stay at the port.
The ship agent agreed, as it was not an unusual request, and they received written confirmation from the Master, copying-in the ship owners.
A few days later the Master confirmed the actual amount to be delivered on board as US$ 23,000 and the remaining funds should be remitted to the supply company as settlement for provisions. This email contained a preliminary delivery note signed by a ship supply company.
Later that week the ship agent received a message from the Master stating that he expected the provisions to be delivered at 18:00 hrs the same day and the messagewent on to explain the denomination of the funds required. This email had the ship supply company in copy and was sent as a reply to previous messages regarding the provisions and cash to Master.
However, it transpired that the email was not sent from the Master, whose email address was email@example.com, but from firstname.lastname@example.org. This was not noticed by either the agent or the ship supply company. The ship agent received an invoice with banking details with the ship’s stamp and Master’s signature, together with the stamp and signature from the ship supply company. The email attaching the documentation appeared to have the ship supply company in copy, but in fact the email had been changed from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org, which was also not noticed. The monies had been remitted to a party who had intercepted the communication chain and fraudulently obtained the funds.
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.