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Fraudsters target scrap professionals: BIR

Keywords: Tags  BIR, Bureau of International Reycling, international recycling, recycling, scrap, cargo schemes, fraud, ICC International Maritime Bureau Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has issued a warning to its member affiliates about fraudulent business offers involving nonexistent scrap cargoes.

According to BIR, there have been several cases involving cargoes of scrap metal—mostly copper—offered to member companies at below-market prices. The companies were provided with documents, which were later confirmed to have been forged, verifying the quality of the goods.

“In several cases, the same documents had been presented on multiple occasions with different company names,” BIR said.
These documents were either being provided by the same individual or were made available in the public domain, allowing any number of individuals to forge and manipulate the details of the transaction, the BIR said.

Even more troubling, the fraudsters used the names of real traders active in international markets to bolster targets’ confidence.

They also created ‘ghost’ websites with domain names and layouts similar to those of genuine trading companies and major cargo firms but with inaccurate contact information, including telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

The London-based ICC International Maritime Bureau has since learned that some of the telephone numbers listed on those sites were generated in Nigeria, BIR said.

Should funds be transferred, customers would have very little legal recourse, according to BIR. Law enforcement will typically not get involved in cases outside of their jurisdiction, especially if the funds transferred amount to less than $100,000.

“It’s certainly not the first time this has happened,” Robert Stein, president of BIR’s nonferrous division and senior vice president of nonferrous marketing at St. Louis-based Alter Trading Corp., told AMM Jan. 23. “Some of the documents can look very similar to the real thing. It really comes down to knowing your supplier.”

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