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Police warning to North Yorkshire businesses over ‘card not present’ fraud

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Businesses targeted by groups using stolen card details to pay over phone.

North Yorkshire Police has received reports of meat suppliers and farm shops in the county taking large quantity orders over the phone which are then paid for using multiple credit card details, believed to have been stolen.

Payment does not clear prior to the goods being dispatched and is resulting in thousands of pounds worth of losses for the local businesses falling victim to this fraud.

Police believe these fraudsters are operating as part of organised crime groups which employ individuals to pose as catering businesses which have been let down by their current supplier and urgently need to place a large order.

Payment is likely to be made over multiple credit cards as the caller claims they want to spread the cost. There are often problems with the cards, some being declined, and this should be an immediate red flag to the trader.

Kevin Ross from North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, explains more:

“The cards used to make payment in these scams are most likely from lists of stolen card details so the caller posing as the catering business, will just go through the list until they have managed to make the full payment required – in one case upwards of £11,000 for one delivery.

“They then insist on sending their own courier or a taxi to collect the products which will be delivered to an industrial or residential housing estate, never to a business address and the caller will use the excuse that this is because Coronavirus has meant they’ve had to close their normal premises.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had reports from a number of North Yorkshire businesses who have been targeted in this way over recent weeks, with over £35,000 lost collectively. The scam works because the callers are well-practiced at being personable, chatty and doing everything they can to appear as honest individuals.”

Here’s our advice for businesses to protect themselves about these type of scams:

  • Treat all calls of this type with great suspicion, do not supply goods to anyone without verifying their identity first. Treat them as you would anyone trying to set up a credit account.
  • Often the cards used have been from American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand banks so be vigilant for this.
  • Always ask for payment by bank transfer.
  • Request trade references from new customers.
  • Instruct couriers and delivery drivers to only deliver to a shop or similar business premises.
  • Remember that even once you have cleared a credit card payment through your account, that does not mean you will not receive a charge-back demand from the credit card company.

Kevin continues:

“With any type of call, trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right then it most likely isn’t right. Report anything of concern to the police by calling 101, not only can we offer support and advice – but knowing about these types of scams can help us protect other businesses from falling victim too.”

The North Yorkshire cases cited all involve meat suppliers with products being shipped to Southend-on-Sea but police have also heard reports of beauty salon suppliers and even swimming pool companies being targeted in the same way.

To report any type of fraud please call North Yorkshire Police on 101.

Last modified: June 12, 2020