(South Africa)


Helping you start and build your small business empire

Scam - short supply

If you've been in business for a while, the chances are you've come across persons of debatable moral standing who have tried to steal some of your hard earned money through fraud or con tricks. We will periodically publish examples of these scams on this page in an effort to make you the small business owner aware of them and hopefully prevent you from becoming a victim. The business world is competitive enough for us not wanting our meager profits being stolen by con men. The new scams will be featured in our newsletters so we strongly recommend that you register for the newsletter so that you don't miss any. Information is power.

If you have been a victim of some form of theft or fraud, let us know so that we can warn others.

The "short supplied stock" theft.

If your business sells products that are small and of reasonable value, then watch out for this scam.

How it works: You pack your precious product in (normally) cardboard boxes and close and seal the container. Somewhere along the line either the delivery driver, the transporter or the customer's goods receiver will open the box, remove a few items and then reseal the box or container. You only become aware of the loss when the customer opens the box to use or distribute the individual items several days or even weeks later. You cannot investigate easily, as it may have been a genuine mistake and if not, how do you catch someone after so much time has passed? Each individual case may be only of minor irritation value, but over time it's your hard earned cash disappearing. This method manages to bypass any strict security you have in your own premises as it occurs outside your immediate vicinity. It is difficult to set traps as the thefts will seem to occur at random and in any event there is often a chain of possible suspects making it difficult to narrow your search down.

How to prevent it:   Numerous ways, but most are either expensive or time consuming. You need to make a financial business decision here. 1) Use tamper proof sealing such as special adhesive tapes that make any attempt to open the box obvious, 2) Insist the customers check contents of each box, 3) Tracking system on delivery vehicle to look out for deviations from delivery route or unnecessary stops, 4) Rotate drivers / transporters, 5) Look for patterns in order to set traps eg: always the same customer, time of month, driver, or delivery route. No easy solutions this time I'm afraid.

The subject matter dealt with on this site is of a general nature only. It is always advisable to consult a professional for your specific situation. All information provided on this site has been carefully chosen and is to the best of our knowledge correct and current. If however you find errors, broken links or disagree with facts provided, please contact us at so that we can make the correction and provide South African business owners with relevant and error free factual information. If you believe there is relevant content missing and you wish to add this value to the site, then you can contact us at the same address

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