Businesses warned of card scam
5:34pm 26th October 2011
Detectives in York are warning retailers to beware of a fraud which has cost local businesses thousands of pounds.
The people behind the scam order goods over the phone using compromised cards to pay for them. A taxi driver is then employed to collect the items and deliver them to an address in Birmingham, where he is met outside the house by two men who pay him the fare and take the goods off him.
When it transpires that the goods are obtained using stolen details, the company involved has to pay a chargeback meaning that they are liable to refund the cardholder for their loss.
A city centre business lost over £7,000 to the scam when someone pretending to be from an events management company in Birmingham called to place a large order of champagne and spirits.
A garage in Fulford lost £1,176 after scammers ordered four BMW tyres which were again taken by taxi to Birmingham and another York auto centre lost over £1000 when they also dispatched an order for four tyres.
Officers are warning businesses to be extremely careful when taking orders over the telephone as the fraudsters are somehow obtaining cardholders details without their knowledge.
Detective Constable Toby Gorwood, of North Yorkshire Police's Financial Investigation Unit, said:
"It is important that all businesses are aware that this scam is happening. It is obviously very difficult to tell if someone is genuine or not when dealing with them over the phone, however there are some warning signs to look out for.
"Be aware when someone from another area orders goods from you when the same products could be obtained more conveniently locally. Also be wary when the delivery address differs from the billing address.
"If you are not happy do not dispatch the goods and phone the police, even if it gets to the point when a taxi or courier comes to collect them.
"The most important thing to be aware of is should a debit card payment be taken over the phone and it turns out to be fraudulent you will be liable for the loss unless negligence on behalf of the cardholder can be proved."
DC Gorwood is also warning local taxi drivers to be on their guard so they are not inadvertently caught up in the scam.
"I am urging drivers to be extremely vigilant. Take stock if you are asked to deliver goods long distances and if you become suspicious refuse the job and report your concerns to the police.
"You could be getting involved in a fraud involving stolen card details which is costing local businesses thousands of pounds and it is vital that you report anything that could help put a stop to any further frauds of this nature being committed."
Anyone who can help the police with their enquiries is urged to contact DC Toby Gorwood of North Yorkshire Police's Financial Investigation Unit, on 0845 60 60 24 7.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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