March 11, 2020 - Reading time: 8 minutes
We have seen many cases where individuals setup websites and claim to be trading from Thailand as legitimate companies. They might claim to export products such as tires, vehicle parts, electronics, food products, textile products, clothes, food or perishable products - this list could stretch to include literally any commodity or product that is currently in demand. After these nefarious individuals have received part payment for a shipment, they will simply take your money and disappear.
In such cases there is often very little that we are able to do in order to help. When a scam artist commits an act of fraud and then vanishes, their goal is to make it impossible for anyone to find them… If they have provided little (or false) information about themselves before starting a transaction then they have a good chance of succeeding in their goal never to be found.
This type of fraud occurs on a very regular basis, and in many cases, fraudsters may claim to operate from Thailand while being located in a different country altogether.
Once you have sent money to Thailand through bank transfer, recovering any money if there is a problem will be extremely difficult or impossible in most cases. This is why it is crucial to check you are dealing with a legitimate company before wiring money. Performing basic checks can help to safeguard your money and stop you falling victim to fraud.
How to check if a Thai company is legitimate?
We often check Thai companies as part of our basic due diligence service. In order to check that the company appears to be legitimate, we will look at all of the data provided by the subject company on their proforma invoice (company name, address, phone, registration number, directors) and verify that this data matches up against public records. We will check that the bank account listed is held in the name of the registered company, and that the company appears to have a good reputation.
Basic due diligence can help to provide more information about the business that you are dealing with and whether or not it appears to be legitimate. We can also take a step further and physically check the company’s building or office, and verify that any products exist before you decide to make a purchase and send money to them. Carrying out a site visit in this way provides an additional layer of security to our basic due diligence service.
Are the documents you have receivedgenuine or fake?
In the past 12 months, 74% of the business transactions checked by us were found to present a high risk of fraud.In such cases our clients would likely have lost significant amounts of money had we not performed checks for them. If you are ordering goods from Thailand, then for a small fee we can help to confirm that you are engaging in business with a legitimate, registered company. Contact our team now and see how we can help in your case.
Fraudsters operate in any niche and offer any product or commodity which is currently in demand. During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 for example, we saw a huge increase in the number of fraudulent websites claiming to sell medical equipment such as facemasks and latex gloves. However, we have previously discovered fraudsters claiming to sell a huge range of different items, from car tyres to toothbrushes and everything in-between.
The unfortunate reality is that fraudsters are able to make vast amounts of money for themselves by collecting part-payment for goods before disappearing. Repeating this scam on a regular basis can generate an enormous income, and as fraudsters repeat their scam, they learn how to make themselves appear more and more convincing to their victims.
Our goal is to protect our clients from falling victim to fraud wherever possible, and to advise them of the information which lead us to the conclusion in their case. In so doing we are able to provide our clients with an insight which can help them to understand the conclusion and decide whether they feel more checks are appropriate in their case.
How to spot a scam
After seeing numerous different cases where fraud has been perpetrated by people claiming to be located in Thailand, we often find it easy to spot a legitimate business from a fraudster. However, detecting fraud through basic checks is often more difficult for people with less experience. Scammers will usually take steps to make their websites and invoices appear very legitimate, it’s easy to understand how so many people fall victims of this type of scam. If you don’t know what signs to look for, telling the difference between a legitimate company and a scammer can be very difficult.
How can you spot a scammer? A first step would be trying to establish whether or not you are dealing with a registered company or a private individual claiming to be a company. This can be done by asking the subject for the name and registration number of their company, and then checking that the company is registered and currently operational. Physically checking that the company exists and verifying they hold the stock which they claim to will also help to ensure that you do not fall victim to a fraudster or scam artist.
The second step in performing very basic due diligence would be to seek a postal address and phone number for the individual that you are engaging in business with. It is then possible to check this information against their company's registered information.
Getting professional help
We offer a fast and cost-effective service for checking that Thai companies are legitimate, and have been relied on to perform due diligence by companies and individuals around the globe. As recovering money from fraudsters can be extremely difficult or impossible, it makes sense to perform checks before you decide to go ahead with a transaction.
Our due diligence service often saves our clients far more money than it costs them, and we have collectively saved our clients enormous amounts of money which would otherwise have been lost to fraudsters, as a result of performing our basic and inexpensive checks.
If an individual provides you with a false information such as a fake address, then discovering that this is the case can be almost impossible if you are outside the country and not able to verify their claims yourself. We often conduct site visits in order to check company addresses before a business transaction takes place in order to verify the legitimacy of any Thai company or individual that claims to be trading from Thailand. We can check to see whether an individual has a factory that is filled with employees or if they simply have a PO box, for example.
The best method to check that a supplier is legitimate will ultimately depend on the circumstances and our client’s wishes. Please feel free to get in touch with us outlining your case and we will endeavour to find the best and most cost-effective solution for you.
Our detectives cover all areas of Thailand through our strategically placed regional divisions. If you require our help to please feel free to contact one of our experienced team members for advice and a free, no pressure quote.
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