Internet Fraud

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Internet Fraud is a crime in which someone will develop a scheme using one or more elements of the internet to deprive a person of property or any interest. As an increasing number of businesses and consumers rely on the internet and other forms of electronic communication, illegal activity using the very same media is on the rise. Internet fraud is EXTREMELY dangerous and damaging to certain companies, possibly making them lose thousands, if not millions.

When entering a website, it is important to do the following:

1. Double check the name of the website A lot of fraudulent websites will use a website name that will reference to a well known brand or product, such as our recent incident where the fraudulent person created a website similar to ours called, “Stela Shipping”. This wasn’t the official website but the fraudulent was trying to get our customers to use their site instead of ours, trying to make them believe that it was Stella Containers.

2. Is the offer too good to be true? On a site such as a container site, if you see containers at a ridiculously low price, you must be suspicious immediately. If the prices seem too good to be true, then sadly they most probably are. Most fraud websites will use low prices to lure in any customers who are looking for containers at a low price. This is a serious issue because most of the time, the containers they are offering at a low price are non-existent, which means that the fraudulent person will get the money but the customer will not receive any container.

3. Never pay by accounts such as PayPal If you are asked to pay for a container online via PayPal, alarm bells should be ringing immediately. If you buy something that is fake or non-existent with a credit or debit card, you at least have the rights to get your money back. If you pay with a bank transfer, you cannot do much to get your money back.

4. Browse the website Instead of rushing through the website, take a couple of minute to double check the site and visit the homepage to read the text. Read and watch out for poor English in the text. If there is bad grammar in the text, it could usually mean that the site is not genuine and was put together by someone looking to make a quick profit. You must also check that the website has contact information. Most websites should have a contact page and if they don’t, it could very well be fraudulent. If the site does have a contact page but asks for a form to be filled out, this could also be a sign that this is a fraudulent site. Any company offering containers or any other goods or services for that matter, should list a place of business as well as a phone number or email address to contact them. If you cannot access any of this information on the website, you should be very suspicious of this website.

5. Check the returns policy If the company are selling containers online, it should have a transport and returns policy listed on the website. If the company is real, it should tell you how and where to return the container. The website should also have terms and conditions and a privacy policy that will tell you exactly what it plans to do with any data you share and any extra contractual rights you have. If the website doesn’t have any of this, you must be aware.

6. Read some online reviews Look at reviews across a number of sources which aggregate customer reviews. Don’t just look at one review website—check several. You must also check the company’s social media pages for recent activity and to see what other people are posting on their social channels.

7. Can you trust a trust mark? Most people will use a site with a trust mark label or logo but with over 50 different trust mark labels and the fact that some websites won’t use them at all, they are not always a good way to judge whether a website is trustworthy or not. Just because a website appears to carry the logo of a reputable trade organization, it doesn’t mean that the website really is genuine. If in doubt, contact the trust-mark company to double check.

8. Look for a padlock Most browsers will have a green padlock next to the websites URL. This means that the website is trusted. This step should only be used in tandem with other checks just in case.

9. Be aware with how the person on the website contacts you If they contact you out of the blue, can be a sign that they are a fraudster although in some cases, companies can call their customers out of the blue for a legitimate reason. If you’re called by a company, make sure you check the identity of the caller. Ask them to give you details that only the company will know.

If you are not 100% convinced of the indemnity of the caller, hang up and contact the company directly from a different phone. Never share your personal details with anyone you can’t trust. Phishing emails or phone scammers will often try and get valuable personal data from you that they can use to steal your identity. Never proceed unless you are absolutely certain that the company is who they say they are. Any fraudster will try and hurry your decision making.

If you are asked to keep something quiet, it should be a red flag. It’s import that you can discuss any agreements with your friends, family or colleagues.

About Alpha Shipping

At Alpha Shipping, we believe that ethical practices are essential in our industry. We believe in training and the pursuit of shipping knowledge for all our staff and we are committed to providing equal and fair opportunities to progress their careers. We are committed to assuring good corporate governance in the conduct of our business and we believe respect and courtesy.

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Alpha Shipping Agency (PTY) LTD
Suite 203 Cowey Park
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Berea, Durban, 4001

TEL: +27 (0)31 207 1662
FAX: +27 (0)31 207 1639

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Private Bag X10,
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Alpha Shipping Agency (PTY) LTD
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Home Ideas Centre,
Sunnyroc,  Ext 2,

TEL: +27 (0)11 450 2576
FAX: +27 (0)11 450 3044

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