A man posing as an employee of Cardiff reseller Computer Supercentres has been trying to buy large quantities of Intel Pentium processors from European distributors, PC Dealer was told last week.
The alleged fraud was uncovered when three distributors in Europe contacted the retailer to confirm orders set up by the bogus caller. No orders from bona fide Computer Supercentres staff had been made.
Maria Wilkins, customer services manager at Computer Supercentres, said this was the second time the Computer Supercentres brand has been used in an attempt to purchase processors, the first instance being in April.
"My main concern is to disassociate Computer Supercentres from this [alleged fraud] and alert the industry to the activities of this man," she added.
Using the aliases David Wilson and Patrick Spencer, international sales manager at Computer Super Center (sic), the man gave the correct address, VAT and company registration number. He is also using a free email address that has been set up to look like an official company email address.
The European distributors that queried the orders were Batavia Multimedia of Germany, Bristol Babcock of Sweden and Monio Oy of Finland.
Frank McNamara, business development manager at Bristol Babcock, said he became suspicious firstly because the processors can be bought more cheaply in the UK, and secondly, the man had given a London phone number but purported to be from Cardiff.
"At first it looked like an attempt to falsely obtain goods on credit, but when I asked for cash upfront, the man agreed and requested a pro-forma invoice. I can't figure out what he's up to," he said.
Steve Roberts, a spokesman for Intel, said: "It's the first time I've heard of this happening. People are always trying to get round the system, but this doesn't sound like a particularly intelligent attempt.
"If he had succeeded in using somebody else's details to buy on credit, the goods would have been delivered to the legitimate company's address. And if he's going to pay upfront, why not just buy legitimately?" he added.
DC Dave Sullivan of the South Wales Police confirmed that the Metropolitan Police are investigating the case. They are tracing the address of the London phone number given by the man and expect to make an arrest.
On Monday, McNamara received an email from the man, asking to double his previous order to 200 Pentiums.
"I think I'll sit on it," McNamara said. No delivery address was supplied.
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