Reseller Stack Data Solutions has urged other VARs to be diligent after receiving a suspicious order for more than £16,000 of Cisco networking gear.
The Merseyside-based firm recently received the order from a company billing itself as Apak Technology UK, whose website claims the business is based at what appears to be a residential address in Kilburn in north west London. Apak requested the goods be delivered to another residential address in Shepherd's Bush, but were advised by Stack that no product would be despatched until payment had cleared.
CRN understands that payment - in the form of a cheque in the name of Lux Kitchens - was made to a bank in Walthamstow in east London. But the cheque never cleared, having been returned by the bank's unpaids unit on the grounds of suspicions of fraudulent or counterfeit activity.
UPDATE 9 January
A representative of Lux Kitchens has contacted CRN and claimed the company is a legitimate business, with no knowledge of or relationship with Apak Technology. The representative indicated the firm's bank - which is not NatWest - had not reported any attempts to write fraudulent or suspicicous cheques in the name of the business. The Lux representative went on to decry fraudulent activities as making life more difficult for legitimate businesses.
The VAT number on Apak's website appears to be registered to Gary Burgess, who is also listed on the website as one of two directors, alongside John Segal. The duo's contact details are accompanied by what would seem to be fake pictures - the latter being named underneath a photo of the character Don Draper from television show Mad Men (pictured below right).
Calls to the number given on the website of Apak went unanswered, and CRN is also yet to receive a response to an email sent to all available addresses for the company. Jeff Orr, managing director of Stack, told CRN he has reported the incident to Action Fraud.
Orr added that his suspicions had been raised by the fact that the order was identical to one placed by a company calling itself Pelican UK, which was accused earlier this year of scamming VARs out of tens of thousands of pounds last year by paying for IT goods with cheques that ultimately bounced. In both cases, the order was for 65 Cisco 881-K9 routers.
"The VAR community should help protect each other by publicising cases like this," said Orr.
Have you had any dealings with Pelican UK, Apak Technology, or anyone else placing suspicious orders? If so, please contact CRN if you wish to share your experiences in confidence.
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