Traders of scrap metal have been warned of an increase in spurious business offers for non-existent cargoes of scrap metal.
In recent weeks, the BIR has been notified of several cases where cargoes of scrap metal were offered to companies at knock-down prices that were accompanied by documents confirming the quality of the goods on offer.
After verification through the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) it became apparent that these documents were not authentic.
According to IMB, these offers were often made using the name of real traders whose identities had been cloned.
In a statement, the BIR said: “One strategy seemed to be the creation of a new website with a domain name similar to that of the genuine company, featuring its contact details but with different telephone numbers.
“In the meantime, the IMB found out that at least one of these numbers was used for multiple companies and that email communications allegedly sent from a UK-based company were actually generated in Nigeria.”
Once funds are handed over, and the customer has not received the goods, there is very little that they can do to recover the loss. Law enforcement will not get involved unless there is proof that a crime has taken place in their jurisdiction, according to BIR. As many cases involve less than $100,000, they are often of low priority to police.
As a result, BIR is asking its member companies to report any suspicious documents or fraudulent activity to IMB so that the information can be shared to reduce risk.