Obtaining Cargo by Fraud


Fraud can be committed in many different ways:

a) Documentation

b) Verbally

c) E-commerce

This type of crime offers high profits with minimal risk of detection and so makes an attractive proposition to a fraudster. This is especially so when cargo is moved between different countries, separated by language, culture and laws.

The fraudster will use whatever means necessary to obtain such cargo, generally by the use of a forged bill of lading, or deception. The ability to choose the place, the time and method to commit the fraud makes it an extremely difficult task to combat this type of crime.

Use of deceit to swindle buyers, carriers, banks, insurance companies and freight operators is an ever-present threat to the unsuspecting party.

When such instances occur, the question is raised, “WHO HAS DEFRAUDED WHOM?”

  1. The shipper on the buyer
  2. The buyer on the shipper
  3. The seller or buyer (or both) against Customs
  4. The seller or buyer (or both) against the carrier
  5. The cargo owner against the insurer
  6. A fraudster against another party


Various methods are used to create a forged original bill of lading. The use of modern technology to reproduce credible documents is of huge benefit to the fraudster. The main concern, however, still focuses on the apparent ease in which these people can obtain possession of a blank original bill of lading which are all too often left unprotected in offices. Combining this with poor administrative practices, or even corruption, provides all of the essential ingredients to create a fraudulent document. 


Staff Author