A number of large, well-known vape shops and distributors have been targeted by scams, and some have lost thousands of pounds worth of stock in the last fortnight alone.
We spoke to one company who were on the verge of losing £20,000 worth of e-liquids overnight, but thanks to the due diligence of their staff, no stock was released to the scammers.
The company, which is well-known across the UK and Ireland and has been a long standing friend of Vapouround, wishes to remain anonymous for now but still wants to get the message out to the rest of the industry. Here is what they told us:
“Two weeks ago, a man contacted us saying he wanted to spend a substantial amount of money on an order – within a couple of days he doubled his order. He told us he would pay the next day and collect the stock himself in time for the weekend.
He lodged a cheque at the bank, which hadn’t cleared, but he was adamant that he paid cash at the bank and not by cheque. We contacted the bank – they were slightly confused by it too and then they confirmed that the man in question definitely paid by cheque. What’s more, the cheque bounced and it emerged it had come from a stolen cheque book, for which the account had been closed for fear of such fraudulent situations arising.
That was two weeks ago. Just last week, a similar situation occurred involving the same company.
Our source added:
“By Wednesday, someone else called asking to pay for an order by card. But the billing address for the card didn’t match the address they provided our staff with – it didn’t match any of the bank records for the card. The man then provided another address and the same thing happened again – it didn’t match.
He rang back and was quite angry on the phone. He demanded that we refund him. But we weren’t able to charge him in the first place, there was no transaction to refund.
Following on from that, two shops had calls from a man, who we immediately suspected to be the same person. He claimed to be calling from the bank this time. We contacted the bank and they then froze the account this man claimed to be the holder of. ”
In total, had this company released the stock without ensuring that payment had been made successfully, they could have lost £19,000.
This magazine has been made aware of several of these scam situations. We know at least three companies have lost a significant amount of stock after succumbing to similar scams, not to mention the effect these aggressive calls have had on members of staff.
If you have been the subject or victim of fraud, report it to the police and get in touch with Action Fraud the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
Has your business been affected by a similar scam?
Contact us today to share your story.