Shipping Container Industry Plagued by Scammers Impersonating Legitimate Businesses
Scammers are holding the shipping container industry to ransom, businesses are losing money and thousands of customers claim they have been duped.
The sturdy walls of steel have become hot property for storage, cafes and even homes.
Some companies say they are moving around 500 containers a month, while others say they are selling for anywhere from around $3000 to $4000.
But it appears others have been watching the success of shipping container sales.
Martin, who owns a Sydney-based welding company said he needed a shipping container to store his work goods
“So I found a company online, actually it was Facebook and they seemed to be legit,” Martin told A Current Affair.
But the site he visited was a mirror image of an actual company and nearly $4000 later no shipping container arrived.
Martin said he thought the business was based in Australia “because they had their address somewhere near Newcastle”.
“I think they purposefully put it further away so people don’t go visit them. It’s a container, what would you want to see?,” Martin said.
Justin, owns one of the companies being impersonated by the crooks.
He said the scammers’ efforts are scary.
“Just at the moment, if you look up Oz Shipping Containers on Facebook pages, there’s 11 different pages,” Justin said.
“And obviously we’ve got the one, the Facebook page and they’ve copied our logo, copied our images, the whole lot.
“They’ve even impersonated myself to sell on Marketplace and some of these pages that I’ve had taken down, (they) have gone to the extremes of putting up my home address, where I live with (my) wife and three-year-old daughter.
“And we don’t want people who have been ripped off, knocking on our door.”
A Current Affair found a Facebook page impersonating Oz Shipping Containers.
The scammer behind the fake page then provided an unrelated fake address after being contacted about payment options.
The fake address provided led A Current Affair to ABC containers.
The real owner of ABC containers said: “We get half a dozen (people) a week who rock (up) and go, ‘where’s my container? You took my money; now you’re ghosting me’. It’s not good.”
“We’ve got a whiteboard here in the office that’s got a list of about 20 online scamming companies, that we know of, that are using our address.
“None of them are real, none of them exist beyond the computer screen.”
She said ABC alone has been approached by more than 100 victims.
George and Charbel from a hardware store in Sydney’s west said they lost $6000.
They are speaking out to warn others because it appears impossible to shut the operators down.
“There’s not much nice you can see about these people other than they’re just scum,” Charbel said.
“Once the transaction was made from dad, no communication whatsoever.”
They won’t see their money again and wish they’d listened to the often repeated advice.
“If it looks too good to be true it probably is,” Justin said.