NEW YORK, April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Global corporate investigations specialist I-OnAsia is seeing a significant rise in the number of bogus sellers of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
"Just yesterday we were asked by a client to help a U.S. buyer who had been scammed out of US$400,000 by internet fraudsters pretending to be a mask retailer," says Mr. James Tunkey, I-OnAsia's chief operating officer. Indeed, "I-OnAsia has been so busy preventing PPE scams in the UK and Europe that we have set up a dedicated website in partnership with another risk management advisory to handle the demand," says I-OnAsia's London office director Mr. Oliver Laurence.
The site is ppe-dd.com.
To prevent scams, I-OnAsia is recommending a form of corporate investigations known as "due diligence".
"I-OnAsia has been a market leader in the conduct of due diligence for over twenty years," says Tunkey. "Due diligence is a form of corporate investigation performed by specialists to check the facts and make sure people are trustworthy. I-OnAsia has completed 17,000 investigations since 2001, and we have a rigorous process for ensuring sellers are genuine."
Sometimes an independent set of eyes is all that is needed, says Laurence. "Sometimes scams can be prevented just by taking a breath and looking carefully to see if the names match on the contract and the seller's bank account."
Other times, lots more due diligence is needed. Mr. James Tunkey explains: "Right now there are many state and local-level buyers that are only willing to pay upon receipt of goods. But approved sellers in China want all of the money up-front. So, enhanced due diligence is required at every step of the process. We check every document, we ask a lot of questions about the backgrounds of everyone involved in the process, we speak constantly with local and foreign customs and shipping officials, and we even sleep on the factory floor if need be to build a bridge of trust between buyers and sellers."
I-OnAsia's clients are European and American governments, specialty financial companies providing trade finance, and corporate buyers.
"In a case in Vietnam that we just wrapped up, we found the seller had little prior experience and a host of other risk indicators in a major transaction," says Laurence.
Tunkey warns that due diligence is the only way to prevent scams. "Buyer beware," he says, because "PPE fraud abounds."
I-OnAsia is a global risk management consultancy working in Due Diligence, Crisis Management, and Corporate Investigations, Litigation Support, Digital Forensics and IP.
Contact: James Tunkey, [email protected]
SOURCE I-OnAsia Limited