Maritime Services Ltd fraudulent website currently active – ActionFraud alerted
It has come to our attention that a fraudulent boat sales website is currently active, similar to other sites taken down with our assistance in the past. This new website (www.maritimeservicesltd.co.uk) is very convincing as it uses the VAT number and registered address of an active marine navigation equipment company on the South coast. Maritime Services Ltd is a genuine limited company that does not trade boats, and is having their information used fraudulently.
Some pictures and information of a number of past brokerage listings can be found on this website, together with boats from many other genuine brokers and boat sales companies here in the UK. Nearly all are priced very cheaply so the old saying ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ definitely applies. However, the scammers come up with convincing stories as to why they are so cheap such as non-payment of bills and estate sales. Offering free delivery, a 48hr period to check the vessel over/reject, and a 6mth warranty will make it sound very tempting. We believe a number of people have already been victims of this scam, see below for a few of our tips to help keep you safe when buying a boat:
- Wherever possible, do not part with any money until you have viewed the boat you are interested in, you may occasionally miss a bargain but are more likely to avoid scam sellers!
- Most brokers and boat sales companies will be willing to hold a boat on good faith for a day or so to allow you to travel, if they are asking for a deposit check this is refundable, if any conditions apply and that you are definitely dealing with the right person – if in doubt, walk away
- Buy through an established broker or boat sales company, ideally ABYA or BMF members (check online)
- If buying privately, ask to use a broker you trust as an intermediary to draw up contracts, check title and hold funds – most will do this for a reasonable fixed fee that could save you ££££s. Even if you have seen the boat, having the correct title documents and knowing the person is the legal owner is very important!
- Ask to have a survey and/or an independent drivetrain inspection, this can often highlight potential problems and will usually make fraudulent sellers nervous so they will often cease contact with you
- Direct bank transfer is usually a safe way to buy or sell a boat but you need to be sure that your money is going to the right place – don’t send money unless you are sure about who you are dealing with and even if you have seen the boat checking bank details verbally with the broker or boat sales company if they have been sent electronically is very important as interception fraud can occur
If you have any information on this please file a report with ActionFraud so the impact and scale of the problem can be recorded.
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