A fraudster introducing herself as "Gemma" has hit multiple distributors for tens of thousands of pounds this week by posing as a new purchasing contact at multiple genuine resellers.
Reseller Tranparent Communications has written to about 50 of its suppliers warning them that its brand name was hijacked by the fraudsters yesterday to successfully order and make off with roughly £10,000 worth of laptops from one of its suppliers.
The fraudsters appear to have hijacked the brand names of other genuine resellers, with distributor Target Components also having been taken for a small amount of money in a remarkably similar stunt last week.
In both cases, the fraudster making the call has introduced herself as "Gemma", posing as a new contact at the genuine reseller in question and requesting to collect the stock because she is in the area.
Steve Warwick, managing director of Portsmouth-based Transparent, said the police are involved and that all his distributors and brokers have been contacted.
Warwick said their account manager at the supplier who was hit for £10,000, whose identity he wanted to protect, could have spotted the fraud if they had been more vigilant. Not only did the fraudsters use a generic [email protected] address, Transparent rarely takes stock and therefore does not usually place orders of this size unless discussed by senior management beforehand, Warwick said.
"We're warning everyone to be vigilant. If something doesn't look right, it probably isn't right," Warwick told CRN.
Paul Cubbage, managing director of Yorkshire-based Target Components, also warned fellow suppliers to be on their guard.
"We had someone purporting to be a customer ring for an order that was then collected and delivered to (a van waiting in) an industrial estate. It shouldn't have slipped through the net, but unfortunately it did," he said.
"The story is that the usual guy's not here, I'm covering for him and we'll collect because we're out and about."
Cubbage added: "What's interesting is that the fraudsters have clearly selected the customers from somewhere and been able to identify their suppliers."
Warwick suspected the fraudsters had cold-called Transparent in recent weeks to fact-find about what kind of products it buys, where it buys them from and whether it takes feeds or calls the distributors directly for pricing.
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