Fake account alert
ITIC became aware of a scam which was diverting pre-funded port costs to a fake bank account. In each case the ship owner due to make the payment received an email advising that the ship agent’s bank account was inoperable due to their annual audit. The message was sent using an email address very similar to the agent’s address. Details of a different bank account were provided for payment. Owners unfortunately sent money to the new account. By the time the agent reported that the pro-forma disbursement account had not been paid, the fraudsters had stolen the money.
In retrospect it may appear that a few simple checks would have been sufficient to prevent these losses occurring; the email address used by the fraudster may be very similar to the genuine one, but it will not be identical. This may lead to criticism of the victim, but taken in the context of the varied and often time-sensitive daily activities of a busy shipping professional, it is not difficult to see why the potentially fraudulent nature of the request was not detected.