ITIC, the International Transport Intermediaries Club, has been receiving an increasing number of reports of fraudulent invoices being submitted to vessel owners and managers for medical testing services following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
For the shipping industry, the impact of the coronavirus is still largely unknown but a number of countries, ports and organisations have implemented preventative measures to minimise the impact of the outbreak. With more than 89,000 people infected worldwide, and sadly more than 3,000 people losing their life to the virus, providing medical tests to seafarers is one measure that is being widely adopted by owners and managers.
ITIC has noted that fraudulent invoices often contain errors which can be easily detected by those responsible for settling disbursement accounts. For example, a recent case involved an invoice where the vessel was listed with an incorrect flag. By simply checking with the vessel’s master it was quickly confirmed that the invoice was fraudulent.
ITIC strongly urges members and others responsible for settling disbursement accounts – and in particular ship managers – to be vigilant and to check all invoices in relation to coronavirus testing.