Resellers, distributors and vendors have been advised to increase their vigilance and contact local police if they come across fraud in the channel.
It was revealed last week that fraudsters were conning the channel out of thousands of pounds by placing multiple orders for IT equipment and having it delivered to false addresses.
Known as cloning, the number of these cases has risen by 334 per cent in the first half of 2000 compared with the previous year, with almost 4000 cases reported.
Nitin Joshi, director at Pannell, Kerr, Forster, said the fraudsters have an understanding of the channel and are sometimes helped by insiders.
"My message to the channel is for distributors to be vigilant," he said. "Watch out for delivery addresses which are different to the known address. Also, watch out for unusual buying patterns and large and sudden orders."
A representative from the Metropolitan Police said that these crimes can be prevented. "Businesses should always check bank and trade references and be wary of people who say they deal only in cash," she said.
Companies should also be careful with new clients, she added, and should always ask for part payment in advance.
First published in Computer Reseller News
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