Avoiding crime and fraud in international trade

Safeguard against crime in your supply chain


Criminals target high-value disposable goods such as alcohol, cigarettes, electrical goods, computers and designer clothing which they can sell easily on the black market.

Vetting staff

It's a good idea to vet your staff and pay particular attention to security staff - remember to include temporary workers. Check the identities of drivers who collect your goods. Read more about installing best-practice safety procedures against business crime.

Don't forget to ensure transport and security staff are well trained.


The Bribery Act is in force in the UK. While bribery in business is already illegal and traders may have been subject to anti-bribery obligations abroad, the Act added a duty for businesses to protect or safeguard against accusations of bribery. For example, a firm can be held liable for failing to prevent individuals bribing others. However, the law makes clear that genuine hospitality or similar expenditure doesn't count as a bribe.

Insurance and asset recovery

You should make sure your business is properly insured against crime and fraud. Check your freight is properly insured. An agent or freight forwarder may be able to help you with this. Read more about using brokers and forwarders.

The standard international trade contract terms (Incoterms) will help clarify who is responsible for your goods at each step of the trading process. Read more about International Commercial Contracts - Incoterms.

Key security factors to consider

It's important to keep opportunities for crime on the premises to a minimum when moving goods. For instance, keep washrooms and social areas away from the main cargo depot or goods storage. Also, when you package goods, try to use a seal for each container. Your seals should be numbered and issued one at a time.

Safeguard your premises. It's a good idea to secure:

  • the entry and exit points of your premises with gates
  • perimeter fencing
  • cargo storage areas

Log in the entry and exit of:

  • empty containers
  • full containers
  • general goods

Key transport security factors

You should:

  • inspect trucks, lorries and containers regularly
  • inspect non-company vehicles and visitors' vehicles
  • use registered freight carriers

If you discover crime in your supply chain, call the police. Read more about how to report a business crime or fraud.