Sri Lankan businesses warned of growing trade fraud

July 14, 2009 (LBO) – An international expert has warned Sri Lanka businesses to be more careful of their overseas partners and do background checks as trade fraud and risks grow in the wake of the global financial crisis. Companies engaged in international trade should not rely solely on banks to check the authenticity of documents and seals, P Mukundan, director, International Chamber of Commerce said.

“If fraudsters want to get you and if they really put time, effort and expense into it, they will get you,” Mukundan told a seminar on trade fraud.

Banks are not there to check documents on which the trade finance system relies heavily.

Mukundan said the bill of lading is the most open to abuse by fraudsters as it is relatively easy to duplicate.

He said in the years past fraudsters would use a half boiled potato to carve out a seal, but now things are easier as every street corner in all the major cities has boutiques that will re-create the rubber seal at a very small cost.

“In today’s world of laser printers, color copiers and scanners there is no document in trade finance that can’t be produced and produced with ease,” Mukundan said.

“A stamp is the most overrated security you will e