How do I determine that the overseas enquiry I received is legitimate?

  • Scams usually follow a pattern – contact is made via the internet, an order for a large amount of product is quickly agreed to, and the buyer wishes to pay via credit card or have the exporter visit them in-country. This is not to say that all enquiries that exhibit these characteristics are scams but most probably are. Be aware that it is not possible to definitively identify a scam. The most that we can do is advise the enquirer to be cautious and undertake due diligence.

  • A buyer who insists that you bear the cost of product registration in a given market is an example of an advance-fee fraud. The key to this is that the transaction from the victim to the scammer will be untraceable and irreversible. Wire transfers via Western Union and MoneyGram are ideal for this purpose. International wire transfers cannot be cancelled or reversed, and the person receiving the money cannot be tracked. Other similar non-cancellable forms of payment include postal money orders and cashier's checks, but as wire transfer via Western Union or MoneyGram is the fastest method, it is the most common. Usually asking whether the buyer is requesting payment by Western Union is sufficient to convince a would-be victim to let the ‘opportunity’ go.

  • Options to assist in determining the legitimacy (due diligence) of an enquiry include obtaining a credit report, obtaining references, and/or insisting on full upfront payment via telegraphic transfer prior to shipping (or even production) of goods.

  • Checking the SCAMWatch website which has been set up by the ACCC will allow you to check if any similar scams have been reported.