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Anti Fraud Information

Food product and ingredient suppliers in EU countries have been contacted by fraudsters claiming to be from a UK wholesaler interested in ordering a large volume of stock. In most cases there is no previous relationship between the supplier and the wholesaler and no existing account. On occassion the name of an existing account holder will be used, claiming that the order is urgent and there is no time to follow usual ordering procedures.

The contact usually comes via a mobile phone or email. If by email, the address may be similar to the wholesaler’s real domain. The contact name, delivery address and billing address given may be genuine. The supplier may be advised to run a credit check on the company, or take out credit insurance. In some cases, a false website has been created with a similar domain name. This site will contain false contact details.

The goods are shipped by the supplier or its agent to the UK. In some cases the delivery address given will have no connection to the genuine wholesaler. In others, the vehicle driver will be informed that the delivery address has been changed, and the stock is diverted into the hands of the criminals. A fake delivery note will be issued.

The wholesaler only becomes aware of the crime when it receives a demand for payment from the supplier. Without the correct proof of order or delivery, the wholesaler cannot be liable for the loss of the goods.

What should you do?

Suppliers should carry out checks to ensure their customers are genuine:

• Take a contact name, land line phone number and web site address

• Confirm wholesaler’s contact details are the same as are published in the Wholesale News Retail Review (available at

• Check email address against customer company’s genuine addresses

• Check company website for genuine delivery address

• If in doubt, call the contact phone number for the company to check the name on the purchase order exists at the customer company. If so, check they have made the order.

• Treat last minute changes of delivery address with suspicion. Double check changes with the wholesaler.

• Beware of urgent or casual orders from existing customers. Insist they follow usual purchasing procedures.

• Educate vehicle crews to deliver only to the specified destination, and report any attempt to change the delivery destination before off-loading the goods.

Wholesalers should:

• Always make orders through established channels, including issuing a purchase order.

• Not change the delivery destination once the goods are in transit.

• Report any unexpected deliveries at their premises to the supplier, including details of vehicle and delivery documents.

• Report any unexpected deliveries or invoices to Action Fraud tel: 0300 123 2040