Caution urged over sea container investment schemes

Investing in a sea container may not be a water-tight investment with claims of scammers offering these lease arrangements.

WA ScamNet has never received any reports of monetary loss to sea container investment schemes but blog threads suggest there are people who have lost money and what has been a genuine line of business now appears to be a target for scammers.

A number of overseas-based ‘buy a shipment container’ websites are named online as ‘Ponzi schemes’ – a form of fraud involving a non-existent business or company that continues because initial investors are given dividends using the start-up money paid by those who join the bogus scheme later on.

One example of an alleged sea container leasing ‘Ponzi scheme’ is Pacific Tycoon, which was the subject of an investor warning by financial market regulators in Canada. Pacific Tycoon is missing from the list of members of the United States’ Institute of International Container Lessors.

Be aware that if an investment scheme turns out to be a web-based fraud by overseas criminals, authorities in Australia may not have the resources or appropriate international powers and law enforcement connections to find those responsible or trace your money.  Why not explore opportunities with Australian based companies?

Let’s say there really is a sea container. There would be no guarantee it will be rented out or that you will ever get money back from the company that you leased it from and if it is all based off shore your chances of enforcing your rights are diminished.

WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection is examining the shipping container investment opportunities currently available in the marketplace and liaising with ASIC and the ACCC. 

Visit WA ScamNet for more information about this alert, as well as how the scheme works and what to be aware of.

Potential investors are advised to exercise caution while investigations are ongoing.