Dealers are being warned that asking for payment upfront is not adequate protection from fraud.
Last week, PC Dealer revealed that someone is posing as a Computer Supercentre employee in an attempt to purchase Intel processors from European distributors.
Using Computer Supercentre's details, the man tried to buy on credit, but when asked for payment upfront, the man agreed. He is still at large, but police believe he is operating from London's East End.
Allan Wallis, managing director of Raven Computers, has helped the fraud squad investigate crimes in the IT industry. He said if a doctored banker's cheque from a foreign bank is used, which uses a local clearing agent, the distributor will see funds clear and dispatch goods before discovering the cheque was fraudulent.
"The fraudster alters the details of a banker's cheque and presents it as payment. The clearing agent will pay out on all cheques unless they have been notified they have been stopped or stolen. But two weeks later, the issuing bank would see the alteration and ask for its money back," Wallis said.
The clearing agent has no liability and the dealer that accepts the cheque would have to return the funds. Any dealer that comes across a new customer wanting to order a large volume of products should be suspicious, particularly if he does not seem concerned about the price, Wallis added.
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