UK IT suppliers have been warned to be on their guard against African fraudsters who order IT equipment posing as legitimate French channel firms.
A significant number of channel players across Europe have been targeted by the scam in recent months, according to an alert sent out by EMEA distributor directory ITdistri this morning.
The fraudsters typically masquerade as legitimate French distributors, registering a domain name and website that is almost identical to the firm they are aping.
They then contact a supplier in another country by mail or fax and ask to open an account. Most of the victims have been German, but firms in Poland, Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic and UAE have also been targeted.
On the first or second effective delivery a 30-day payment is requested. The buyer then disappears upon delivery.
ITdistri said the products are then exported to Ivory Coast or Mali and hawked on the grey or black market.
ITdistri’s Alain Godet said: “Given the high number of domain names registered and as their trick is exposed in Germany, it is evident that the fraudsters will try to attack other European countries in the coming weeks.”
Telltale signs include poor spelling and grammar, ITdistri said.
It added that firms in any doubt should check if the company is real on the French version of Companies House – societe.com – and verify that the contact data given matches up with the company information.
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