As you might hear of that the shipping container industry has been targeted by online sales scams. These are usually found on platforms such as Facebook, Fake Adds on Facebook Marketplace, other Social Media , or via fake websites. This has been an ongoing issue for the last few years and has affected many legitimate shipping container companies in Canada including ourselves.
How the scam works:
1 ) SOCIAL MEDIA
scammers will post shipping containers for sale with prices that are significantly below market value through social media platforms or newly created websites, to entice customers to buy from them. They will put you in contact with a “representative” that claims to be from CANTRANS or another legitimate shipping container company. However, they will replace the phone number and email addresses with their own.
Once the customer commits to purchasing the equipment, an invoice is provided that may even include the real logo & address of the authentic company and fake phone numbers and email addresses. An up-front payment (typically 50%) is requested mostly to overseas accounts by wire, e transfers. Once payment is made, they will disappear.
Tips to PROTECT from a Shipping Containers SCAM:
To Ensure you don’t fall victim, of this SCAM, Here are some tips and a few warning signs to look for;
Beware of pricing that is too good to be true
Although the shipping container prices vary due to many factors ( steel prices, shipping cost, fuel prices, exchange rate, Supply/Demand etc.), the prices normally don’t vary drastically for equipment of comparable condition. If a quote or price is too good to be true, this could be a scam.
Quotes that are too good to be true, should probably be treated as such.
Verify the contact information of the company they are claiming to represent
The scammers alter contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses to be able to communicate with the customer. Phone numbers of reputable shipping container companies can be compared to official numbers listed in Google Maps (verified by Google) and called or visiting their website and calling them.
Beware of requests to wire funds overseas or in any other currency except CAD.
- Review the invoice provided for sales taxes ( GST/HST Info)
More often they don’t charge sales Tax or don’t mention the GST/HST number on the invoice or More often than not, the sales taxes on the fraudulent transactions are wrong. They either do not have the correct sales taxes (ex: GST/QST/HST) or alternatively, will not charge the right percentages. They also do not have the tax registration number of the company making the sale. This is a requirement for legitimate businesses in Canada and can be easily verified with Canada Revenue Agency on the following link:
- Website domain name
Legitimate companies typically register their domain names and have existed for many years. Scammers like to create new websites regularly to execute this scam. As soon as one site is reported as fraudulent and taken down, another is created. We recommend verifying the length of time the domain has been in existence as it may be an indication that the website is not legitimate. This can be done through: https://www.whois.com/whois/
Authentic businesses typically use their domain names in official communications. For example, our official website is www.cantranscontainers.com and www.cantransglobal.com and our email communications only occur using our domain name @cantranscontainers.com or @cantransglobal.com. Scammers will attempt to appear legitimate by using variations of this such as: firstname.lastname@example.org etc.
If you are looking for more information on this shipping container fraud, we have linked several media outlets that have reported on this issue in the last few years.
Better Business Bureau –
Global News Calgary–
Radio Canada Quebec –
Journal de Montreal –
If you would like to discuss further or verify information that you have received in connection with a shipping container quote, please contact a member of the Cantrans sales team at 866 601 2345 and it would be our pleasure to assist you.