The Rare Kit Kats Made It to the US. Then Came the Scam

'Strategic theft' is on the rise. This was one instance of it
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2023 9:01 AM CST
The Rare Kit Kats Made It to the US. Then Came the Scam
   (Getty Images / bajinda)

As far as scams go, it's a strange and confusing one—and on the rise. The New York Times delves into the world of "strategic theft," which it describes as "part identity theft, part extortion," with a real-world case involving 55,000 unusually flavored Kit Kats. A New York company called Bokksu ordered the $110,000 shipment from Japan, intending to put the melon- and matcha latte-flavored candy bars in its Japanese snack subscription boxes. The sweets made it from Asia to a temporary storage facility in Los Angeles County. All that had to happen, writes Amelia Nierenberg, was for the shipment to be picked up and trucked to New Jersey. Bokksu hired freight brokering company Freight Rate Central for $13,000 to get the job done. Everything went awry from there.

As Nierenberg explains, Freight Rate Central posted the job on a trucking board, where it was scooped up by Tristan with HCH Trucking. The candy was picked up, but hadn't made it to New Jersey days later. Tristan's story about a broken-down truck raised red flags; a call to HCH Trucking revealed there was no employee named Tristan. Tristan confessed: He was a scammer "trying to make money" and had dropped the KitKats at two warehouses near LA. It's unclear how Tristan would make money off it—Freight Rate Central was to pay him upon delivery. But the company was thrilled: It could still get the Kit Kats to their destination. Except a newly hired trucker vanished with half the Kit Kats, and the second storage facility had a contact with a fictitious person and refused to release the candy. Bokksu blames Freight Rate Central, whose owner says, "I do feel cheated. I just don't know who is doing the cheating." (Read the full story.)

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