UK channel firms continue to be targeted by African fraudsters masquerading as legitimate French firms, ITdistri has warned.
The confidence tricksters dupe their victims by posing as existing channel firms, right down to the domain name, website, employee names and official documents.
Once they have successfully opened an account, they make a large order using 30-day credit, before promptly disappearing. The goods are then hawked on the black market.
ITdistri, a European distribution directory, first flagged up the trend last July but has warned that channel firms in several European countries including the UK (but mainly Germany) are still being targeted by this type of fraud.
"Given the fraud does not stop, it is still utterly important to warn all IT distribution professionals of this new menace, in order to arouse their suspicion," said ITdistri's Alain Godet.
ITdistri listed the fraudulent use of the names of 10 legitimate French channel firms in recent months. It stressed the companies in question are totally innocent of the frauds and most have since pressed charges.
- Cdiscount Pro (B2B etailer and distributor - cdiscounts-pro.com instead of cdiscountpro.com)
- Comeback (PC component specialist - comeback-pro.eu instead of comeback-pro.com)
- Compuware France (application software editor - compuware-france.fr instead of compuware.fr)
- Devea (broadliner specialising in Africa export - devea-informatique.com instead of devea.com)
- GS2i (security specialist - gs2i.org instead of gs2i.com or gs2i.fr)
- Holcim Informatique (IT department of a cement and aggregate supplier - holciminformatique.fr instead of holcim.fr)
- Micro-Concept (retailer - real URL is microconcept.com)
- Pact Informatique (storage specialist - pact-informatique.fr instead of pactinfo.eu)
- Prosynfo (PC component specialist - prosynfo-france.fr instead of prosynfo.com)
- SCH Leasing Services (corporate reseller - scc-sa.fr instead of fr.scc.com)
ITdistri warned that the fraudsters had become more sophisticated in recent months. Now they also send real or forged copies of official documents about the companies they are aping, it said.
The "approximate language" often used by the fraudsters should serve as a simple warning sign to those targeted, it added.
In case of doubt, the company contacted should ensure the firm is real through the local company house, Societe.com, enquire about their credit rating and ensure any contact data given matches real data available through a specialised directory.
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