Reseller IT Partnerships (ITP) has warned the channel that credit insurance is the best defence against fraud, after it was saved from losing tens of thousands of pounds to tricksters using a stolen company identity.
The VAR received an order for PCs worth around £50,000 from a bogus company that had passed credit checks.
Damien Harold, managing director of ITP, told CRN the criminals had stolen the identity of a legitimate firm by registering a change of address at Companies House, then had the goods delivered to the bogus address.
The genuine firm had no idea its name was being used by the fraudsters.
"We do credit checks for all our customers and this appeared totally legitimate," Harold said. "Our checks gave the customer a credit rating of £100,000. We delivered the PCs, then received a call from the police warning us that fraudsters were using company names to buy equipment."
Paul Reynolds, head of corporate affairs at Companies House, said the organisation accepts company information in good faith. A standard form is used to change an address.
"We are aware of the problem and are encouraging customers to use our authenticated electronic system (to change details)," he said. "With 1.8 million members, we had only about six such fraudulent incidences last year."
Alan Norton, head of intelligence at credit reference agency Graydon, said fraudsters know only too well how easy it is to change a company's details under the current system at Companies House.
"We have even seen cases of fraudsters installing themselves as directors of companies," he said. "Resellers should always question large deals."
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