Police are warning resellers and distributors to be on their guard after a spate of fraud cases involving fake bankers' drafts hit the channel.
A company claiming to be trading as JJ Publishings, based in Bloomsbury, London, has been targeting channel players, trying to con them out of thousands of pounds worth of IT software and hardware.
The bogus firm is also using the name of a legitimate business on the bottom of its purchase orders.
Value added distributor Corporate Software was recently targeted by the fraudsters. It received an initial order for £400,000 worth of OEM software, which was later reduced to just over £100,000.
The con men, who had found Corporate on the net, tried to pay with a banker's draft, and delivered it by courier to Corporate after the banks had closed for the day.
Although it appeared genuine, the draft proved to be a fake after closer inspection at a bank the next day.
Piers Springthorpe, managing director of Corporate, said he wanted as many channel players as possible to be aware of the problem.
"We managed to avoid losing money because of our refusal to release any stock until the banker's draft was verified by a bank. But other firms have not been so fortunate and have lost thousands of pounds as a result," he said.
"At some point we know that these people will target one of our resellers, and before that happens I would like to warn people in our industry that this is going on."
Detective Sergeant Tariq Sarwar, from Kilburn CID, which is handling the case, said resellers should always confirm they are dealing with a bona fide company before accepting any form of payment.
"Firms can always check a company is real with Companies House, and they should also contact their bank to confirm the real value of any bankers' drafts before accepting them as payment. These people don't only order via the internet, they also make use of faxes, which can appear genuine," he said.
"Anyone that does get a request from a firm calling itself JJ Publishings should contact their local police station immediately."
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