Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Beware: garden supplier reports order scam

Published: 26 July 2013
Con artist posing as a garden retailer targets supplier, placing bogus orders worth thousands of pounds.
In the latest incident, which took place today, a woman who identified herself as 'Jenny' and claimed to work for Poddington Garden Centre in Northamptonshire, ordered around £8,000 worth of SBK direct from supplier Vitax.

The order, which received clearance from the wholesaler it was to be invoiced through, had all the correct product codes and prices and appeared to be genuine.

A further call from Jenny informed Vitax she would be sending a lorry to collect the order, which made Vitax suspicious. While it is not unheard of for a customer to send a vehicle to collect items, suspicions were aroused when another driver waiting to load at the Vitax premises explained he had been caught up in a scam only the day before involving televisions, which had also been organised by a girl called Jenny.

Police were called and arrived at the same time as the driver who had been sent to collect the Poddington order. He was questioned but allowed to go, as it emerged he was an innocent party and not in on the scam. Skelmersdale Police in Lancashire have all the details and would like to hear of any similar incidents.

The Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) is asking that all suppliers and retailers beware. GIMA director Neil Gow said of Vitax's lucky escape: "With margins as tight as they are these days, an awful lot of sales are required to make up a loss such as this might have been."

Comments

Published prior to March 2014
By JONATHAN COLLIER
http://www.monumenttools.com/pdfstore/sundaytimesjcacfeb13.pdf

Its the same m.o. every time.
Published prior to March 2014
By Scam hater
Yes we did have this as well- exactly the same operation-down to the same instructions to the local van driver.
TIP- the email order will come from a gmail account-only accept orders from genuine emails!!
Published prior to March 2014
By BBB Investments Ltd
We had the exact same experience around 6 months ago...phone call from NW England, (scouse accent lady), claiming to be one of our stockists from Hampshire and quoting several things which seemed legitimate, also taking time to ask questions about products before ordering what was clearly nothing like the account would usually order.

They were very calm and even gave us an official order number!
We pretended to take the order & then phoned the customer in question, suffice to say it had nothing to do with them. We then awaited their collection driver as they said the order was urgent and they'd collect, even though we deliver next-day.

They phoned a "man plus van" franchisee in our area 20 mins before asking them to call and collect from us, with the instructions to head towards M6 and ring for instructions on the way...amazingly the courier took the order on this basis from a complete stranger but it turned out they had no knowledge or involvement.

We reported it to the local police and fraud protection branch along with the mobile number we had for the person attempting to scam us.

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