Valued at US$8.7 billion and projected to reach US$12.08 billion by 2027, the global shipping container industry has become a central component of the world economy.
It isn’t just global shipping though. Containers are increasingly being used for secure storage, converted into offices, data centre housing, R&D labs and electric battery storage and testing centres – not to mention ‘Grand Design’-style homes.
A growing market and the increasing cost of steel pushing-up the price of containers has seen opportunistic scam artists target the unsuspecting public offering knockdown or slightly lower-cost containers that never materialise.
With scammers defrauding an average of £1,750 per container and the frequency of scams occurring on a nearly daily basis, S Jones Containers – one of the oldest and most well-respected container companies – has joined with Action Fraud to issue a nationwide warning about the ongoing scam.
“Over the past six months, we’ve been experiencing an increasing number of calls from people who believe they’ve have bought a container from S Jones, only to find out there’s no record of them on our system and they’ve been scammed out of thousands of pounds,” said Sarah Green, Sales Manager at S Jones Containers. “It goes without saying that scams, including container scams, have been around for years, however these particular scammers are fraudulently using our company branding, staff photos, logos and even dummy email addresses to create invoices that, at first glance, look legitimate. Unfortunately, many people are seeing the reputable S Jones name on the invoice and falling for the scam.
“Not only are customers being scammed, but members of our sales team have been inundated with calls from upset customers with complaints. We then have to break the bad news that they are the victim of fraud. It’s a very frustrating situation for all parties, and we want to spread the word on how people can avoid these container scammers.
“We advise people to be very cautious when making payments, and do as many background checks as they can before sending any money. Scammers are taking advantage of people using platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, and advertising containers for around £1,750. This might seem like a large amount of money to an unsuspecting buyer, however it is way under the current market price for a container.
“We’ve created a list of scammer ‘warning signs’ on our website that you can use to check the sale is legitimate.”