With the recent global storage container shortage, many individuals and businesses may be at an increased risk of fraud. Demand is excessively high right now for shipping containers. In turn, the price to buy a storage container is four times the amount it was a couple years ago. This gives shipping container scammers an opportunity to strike and make a ton of money while doing it, that is if the buyer gives in to the deceit.
You’re a smart shopper though and your gut is probably the first to tell you something is amiss. Listen to it. For additional help, we’ve compiled a list of ways storage container scammers will try to fool you.
Red Flags to Watch For
- Discounts – Scammers will entice you with an incredible deal. Any significant price difference from the current market value should turn you away immediately.
- Illegitimate website – Scammers will go so far into their deception that they’ll use legitimate company names to lure you in. This is illegal – known as identity theft. They’ll go the whole nine yards and create a functional website; however, there’s likely to be more spelling errors, formatting issues, typos, fuzzy logo, odd domain name, etc.
You can also search the company name to find any other information about them or discover the real business they are mimicking.
- Fake phone number and address – Storage container scammers will list this information to try to trick you into believing they can be trusted. They take the risk of you actually calling or looking up their address.
First, look on their website, social profiles, or simply Google search the business name to find an address and phone number. If none are listed, that’s a bad sign. If they have this information listed, start investigating. Search the address and Google Maps will show you where it’s located including a street view. Also, if there is a phone number listed, call it!
- No transparency – If you ask a question and they cannot provide you with a clear answer or they make up an excuse, this should make you wary. Specifically, if you ask to see the storage unit in person. They may become pushy with their sales tactics or there will be a break in communication.
- No reviews – Sure, the container company may be new and therefore is lacking reviews but this is something you should be wary of too, especially considering the container shortage crisis we’re in. If there are reviews, look through them. Are they legit customers, are the reviews spread out in terms of time, are there a variety of them, how does the company handle negative reviews, etc.
- You were contacted – Again, not a clear red flag but something to be cautious about, especially if they use an informal email address like gmail.com. Additionally, if the email is unprofessional, contains a bunch of typos and spelling errors, then your guard should go up.
- Payment methods – Bitcoin, wire transfers, and even checks made out to a name other than the company listed, should raise suspicion with the storage container company you’re dealing with. Paying by credit card is the safest method to protect you from fraud.
Reporting Shipping Container Scams
If you fall victim to a cargo container scam or believe you have found a container scammer, it’s important to report it as soon as possible. You can easily report the incident directly to the Federal Trade Commission. This will help protect others from falling victim and combat these illegal acts.
If a scammer is using your shipping container company to commit these fraudulent acts, report it but also get the word out through your website, social media platforms, emails, and other means to alert your customers.
About Container King
Container King is a Texas based company supplying new and used shipping containers nationwide. Whether you need to buy, rent, or modify a storage container, we got you covered.