Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Coronavirus Now Looks to be a New Profit Centre for Criminals

Scammers Trying It On Over Virus Testing
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – It doesn't take long for the exponents of the scam (some would say scum) to jump on the latest bandwagon and try and extort money from wherever it may rightfully lay. Now the possibility of a global pandemic has persuaded the low life creatures of the internet to create a possible source of revenue from those working in the shipping industry.

The International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) a leading provider of professional indemnity insurance to transport professionals managed by Thomas Miller, which also lists the UK P&I Club and the TT Club amongst those managed in its portfolio, tells us it has been receiving an increasing number of reports of fraudulent invoices being submitted to vessel owners and managers for medical testing services following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

For the shipping industry, the impact of the coronavirus is still largely unknown but a number of countries, ports and organisations have implemented preventative measures to minimise the impact of the outbreak. With more than 89,000 people infected worldwide, and sadly more than 3,000 people losing their life to the virus, providing medical tests to seafarers is one measure that is being widely adopted by owners and managers.

The ITIC has noted that fraudulent invoices often contain errors which can be easily detected by those responsible for settling disbursement accounts. For example, a recent case involved an invoice where the vessel was listed with an incorrect flag. By simply checking with the vessel’s master it was quickly confirmed that the invoice was fraudulent.

The ITIC strongly urges its members, and others responsible for settling disbursement accounts, and in particular ship managers, to be vigilant and to check all invoices in relation to coronavirus testing, advice which others in the supply chain should also be aware of as this type of scam can spread as quickly as the disease it hopes to profit from.