A Mid Ulster business has lost £5,000 of stock after falling victim to a sophisticated credit card fraud over the phone.
But it seems it is not the only business in the area to have suffered as a result of the scam as in the last year alone £113,000 worth of revenue was lost to local businesses in such a way.
In relation to its ongoing investigation into this type of crime a 34-year-old man was arrested and bailed by the PSNI in Dungannon.
Detective Inspector Will Tate said: “An agricultural supplies business in the Mid Ulster area has lost £5000 of stock as a result.
“As part of ongoing police enquiries a quantity of silage netting was recovered in the Dungannon area on August 22.
“It is thought this may have been purchased with a fraudulent credit card.
“A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud and has since been released on bail pending further enquiries.
“Police are currently investigating a UK wide credit card fraud which entails someone purporting to buy up large quantities of stock from various sectors.”
And he is warning businesses to be very wary when taking large orders over the phone from people who do not try to barter on price, want to provide their own courier or try to pay for the order across a number of credit cards.
The police have warned that many of these so-called fraudsters may not know which bank issued the card, so by Googling it, you could catch them out.
“Orders and payments are taken over the telephone and a number of credit cards are used to make payment,” Inspector Tate explained.
“Reports suggest that the person placing the order may have an Asian-type accent and asks for the order to be dispatched quickly. The ‘buyer’ will send a local, independent courier to collect on their behalf who is not involved in the scam.
“Many local businesses across the province have been victims of this. Average loss is around £6,000. Last year it is estimated that there was £113,000 of lost revenue to local businesses, and this was likely the tip of the iceberg,” he added.
“Police would urge caution when taking credit card payment by telephone. These people have all the required details including the person’s address, it gives the appearance of being legitimate. But the callers may not be able to tell the seller which bank the card is issued from.
“These people are brazen. They are targeting every sector across the country.
But there are some things you can do to help yourself:
There are a number of things business can do to help prevent them falling victim to this type of crime:
· Do not accept credit cards for large orders - request a bank transfer which is secure
· Checks can be done on the credit card details provided. Google search the first four digits to identify which credit card company/ bank the card belongs to and then contact that bank to verify the transaction/ cardholder details. If it doesn’t match then do not accept payment.
· These fraudsters want to break down payment onto a number of credit cards. Money is not an option and there is no price negotiation
· They will take whatever you have. Quantities/ specifications are immaterial
· They fraudsters will not let the business arrange the courier, insisting on providing their own
· Ask questions about where the goods are to end up/ what they are for. Check to ensure the information is legitimate
· They do not want or will not accept an invoice
· Question any courier attending about who they are working for/ where goods are going, check information before releasing goods