You can’t repudiate the harsh reality that facing scams is common now in all businesses. Whether small or big, all kinds of companies go through the phase in which thieves try to take advantage of them.

And when it comes to international trade, you can seize countless opportunities by trading across the globe, but there are some definite dangers that you must be familiar with.

Unfortunately, many countries with import and export businesses have experienced freight forwarder scams that have faced significant losses. However, a bit of awareness and diligence can be made to avoid traps and fraud. Also, it can be challenging to recognize the fraudulent actions, but you all can be aware of some common freight forwarder scams around.

Furthermore, there are several kinds of frauds that export-import companies around the world are facing. Yet this article aims to highlight the common freight forwarder scams in China so that the Chinese importing companies don’t meet the loss and stay attentive.

Common Freight Forwarder Scams in China:

  1. Making a Duplicate Name
  2. Frauds with Importers (bill of lading)
  3. Cargo Theft
Freight Forwarder Scams in China

How Do Freight Forwarder Scams Happen in China?

Chinese freight forwarding faced rapidly increasing cases of scams and swindle in recent years. Some of the frauds have been done by small international freight forwarding companies in China that attract importers using well-planned methods. Thus, it is crucial to issue a warning to the readers.

Unluckily, there is no one to help the Chinese importers. Also, it takes a lot of time to track down the scammers. At the same time, local police authorities don’t approach great resources to continue ongoing investigation unless the amount is too considerable.

Well, for our readers, we have listed the common freight forwarder scams in China.

1. Making a Duplicate Name

As China is the largest importer worldwide, it has the innumerable number of biggest freight forwarders ranging from small businesses or individuals to big companies. As a result, freight scamming cases are also as high as trading opportunities.

In China, freight forwarders find unsuspecting businesses and play with them. Unluckily, some Chinese buyers fall prey to these gougers and experience immense destruction.

Well, before jumping into the common freight forwarder scams in China, you all must know who freight forwarder is. A freight forwarder is an individual or a company that provides services to import-export businesses. Freight forwarders organize and plan your shipment.

Moreover, they deal with the entire process from receiving the cargo and dropping it at the destination of the port. This agent has in-depth logistics operation knowledge and experience to carry the goods.

So, when the buyer gets in touch with the forwarder, he gives him the details of goods and destination. Here several chances occur for the shipper to scam the buyer. In the first case, the shipping scammers make the fake website using the exact name of any legitimate company site.

Although it is possible to see similar companies’ names, fraudsters do this to thieve cargo or goods when the buyer can’t distinguish between the real and fake company site.

Steps To Avoid This Scam

Check the site’s URL if it contains the correct spelling of the company name and head over to the URL. Moreover, focus on the site’s domain name and must ensure that the letters are not misspelled.

Also, check if the URL has a free hosting website such as homestead, Wix, or HubSpot; it is clear that the site is fake.

Freight Forwarder Scams in China

2. Frauds with Importers

Chinese freight forwarders’ true colors are unveiled when the original bill of lading is not mailed. Initially, the Chinese forwarder (fraudster) contacts the importer by offering attractive rates for the shipment from the supplier. In China, the importer (client) buys the good from their Chinese supplier according to FOB (free on board) terms, which ships the cargo to a freight forwarder.

Once both parties assent with the details of transit, the process commences. The Chinese scammer sends the copies of the bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, and other export documents to the client (importer). The process goes smoothly, and everything seems legitimate until the cargo is received.

However, now the importer doesn’t have the original bill of lading. Furthermore, the importer cannot prove his ownership and release the arrived cargo without the original bill of lading. Therefore, defrauded importers can’t go through customs.

While the Fraudsters withhold the bill of lading until the client pays them an extra amount, freight scammers ask for hefty ransom ranging from between US$11,000 to US$25,000, which is sometimes unaffordable for small businesses; thereby, they face a significant loss. This is how shipping scammers in China exploit the importers and extort money.

Steps To Avoid This Scam

The first step you must take is to check the actual rates of the shipment. Then, before approaching any freight forwarder, make sure you know the standard cost of shipments. Since the new importers don’t pay heed, lack some earnestness, and don’t have prior experience, they get easily enticed by the attractive packages of shipping scammers.

Furthermore, check out the official website and find out the reviews and testimonials by clients in the feedback section. Looking through the website can help you to know how professional and authentic the forwarding company is.

3. Cargo Theft

Cargo theft is another common freight forwarding scam in China in which fraudsters steal the cargo if they find it highly expensive. Scammers apply the same trick to communicate with the importers, like in the BoL (bill of lading) case. They offer attractive rates and get the cargo. Once the importer has delivered his goods, they vanish into thin air.

Now importer or buyer does not have visibility of cargo anymore till there is some documentary or recipients proof like a bill of lading after the shipment or any other exporting document.

Steps To Avoid This Scam

Finding trustworthy freight forwarding services can be a big and mind-numbing step for your shipping needs. Therefore, it would be best if you practice vigilance whenever you’re dealing with the forwarders.

Feel free to take details such as contact number, billing and shipping address, official website link, etc., to ensure that you can’t be a victim to certain traps.

Also, if they have an authentic website, go through it and ask them how they work and their terms and conditions to avoid future loss.


China lies on top of the list when it comes to supplying goods to all corners of the world. It’s a land that provides thousands of chances for suppliers and importers to grow their businesses.

Along with trading options, the number of fraudulent activities has been increased in China. Therefore, we have put down the common freight forwarder scams. However, this may help readers to be watchful and show vigilance while approaching the freight forwarders.