A distributor has urged the channel to be vigilant of alleged fraudsters aiming to scam tens of thousands of pounds from channel firms.
The company, which wishes to remain anonymous for fear of inviting more problems of a similar nature, urged other channel firms to be on alert, especially when receiving orders for Cisco kit from unknown clients.
Last year, reseller CCL fell victim to a company operating as Pelican UK which bought £15,000-worth of HP kit via a payment which later bounced. Around the same time, distie Channel-C also said it had fallen victim to the same firm, but this time for a "substantial" amount of Cisco switches.
At the end of last year another reseller, Stack Data Solutions, reported a similar instance of suspected fraud after a company billing itself as Apak technologies requested a quote for £16,000-worth of similar Cisco kit.
Today, the anonymous distributor said that already this year it had received two suspicious quotation requests – again for Cisco switches. The company's boss said he had deleted the emails as he suspected them to be fraudulent, and spoke out, warning others to be careful.
"[Fraudsters] have been coming out in droves," he said. "It's the same set of people and the same products – Cisco switches. The company name changes each time and [the fraudsters have] an excellent way of paying the money so it looks like it is there so you send the kit out and then the cash is not there."
On this occasion, the distie received quote requests for the Cisco kit from two companies, one billing itself as Teledyne, a US-based aerospace firm, and another as Neopost, a mailroom equipment firm.
When CRN called both numbers provided on the quote request emails, we reached what appeared to be the same switchboard operatives. They were not able to provide a connection to the individuals listed on the emails.
On the email from the firm billing itself as Teledyne, the company's logo and its company registration details were included in the signature. But on further investigation, the Teledyne staff member from whom the email appears to be – purchasing director David Mills – was not listed on Teledyne's phone directory, suggesting the alleged fraudsters are posing as the legitimate firm. CRN was awaiting comment from Teledyne at the time of publication.
The distie added that two of his company's resellers had been targeted by the group he thinks are fraudsters, but managed to escape losing out on cash thanks to his advice.
"One reseller wanted to buy the kit from us and I asked if it was a normal client and warned them to check it out first. They came back and said ‘thank God, we might have got done without that vigilance'."
The distie said he had reported the recent bout of suspect emails and others with similar worries can contact Action Fraud.
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