Latest warning From Scamwatch. Shipping Container Scams


A shipping container?

Just the thing to get your machinery delivered in from JGE Machinery.

Perhaps this pair of grubs might even arrange package deals.

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ABC has an article on shipping container scams…

It is concerning how scammers/criminals are developing new avenues to scam consumers.

This scam has been around for a couple of years yet social/multinational advertising platforms do nothing to reduce their users of being stung by a scammer. Possibly shows advertising revenue is more important than ethics or the welfare of their users.

One challenge for social media platforms is that if a person contacts them saying: we are the legitimate ABC Shipping Containers and this other page under the same name is a scam … how does the social media platform determine which is the legitimate page? (I have already encountered this exact problem in non-commercial contexts i.e. community and individual.)

If the social media platform (acts in haste and) makes the wrong decision then this could be quite an amusing denial-of-service attack against a legitimate business. (Note that government encourages hasty decision-making by imposing very tight deadlines on removing content.)

In this case, maybe rather than worry about restricting advertising, most of the pieces are already there:

  1. If a page is for an entity that sells to the public then require “the blue tick”.
  2. Require the ABN to be displayed on the page and on the ad, and for the ad to link to the page.
  3. Encourage people to pay to the ABN and stop …y paying to BSB+account number.

There’s something in there for the social media platform (revenue for verification) and for the government (more hooks into everything) and even for the banks (phasing out paying to BSB+account number) … so maybe it might actually happen.

That certainly won’t stop all scams of this nature but it means that the scammers have to engage with the government in order to get an ABN - and the government can directly determine what hurdles that requires jumping over.

(In the overall scheme of things, this particular story may be a bit of a beat-up. Losses of $1.8m in 2022? Wow. Not. That’s nothing compared with what is being lost on other scams so perhaps the government should focus elsewhere, just in terms of “bang for their buck”.)

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