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Distribution fraud

It happens when a supplier delivers products in the UK, often from European countries and is not paid for. The retailer seeking the products claims to be from a reputable supermarket or manufacturer based in the country, and they sometimes ask for expensive products like electrical, alcohol or food. 

They may steal a popular company's logo and email address to place the order. The value of the order can be very high, and they may ask for delivery. 

In such cases, they call the driver of the delivery van midway while they are travelling and ask them to send the items to a different address that is not registered in the firm's name. 

As the delivery is made, the criminals pick it up from the new address without payment, and the order invoice is sent to the firm. 

How Does It Happen?

  • The supplier is contacted by a bogus firm that presents itself as a reputable organisation, and it places an order for goods or services sent to the UK, and the criminals pick these goods. The supplier does not get any payment for it. 

  • The investigations have found a lack of reporting by the companies about such cases where innocent hauliers are employed by criminals to transport goods across different regions, which raises the risk of an employee getting penalised for transporting illegitimate goods.

How To Protect Yourself?

Check the documentation, spelling, grammar and other details carefully in the emails or messages forwarded by the buyers. English is not their first language, so they often make grammatical mistakes in their communications and documents.

  • Check the emails' authenticity and compare the firm's domain names. 

  • Ensure the addresses and telephone numbers are authentic. 

  • Check the company's online reviews to find out if it has been involved in placing any such orders or if the website has been cloned previously.

  • Verify the order with the UK retailers and check the bank transfer records to verify the authenticity of the order and the delivery address or the warehouse facility.

  • If any such incident is reported –Cancel the order immediately if the supplies have been sent. Tell the driver of the van to stop the delivery. 

  • Try to get the real numbers of the firm, and do not contact the bogus firm again. Record all the commutations, track phone calls, and report the crime to the regulatory bodies.

Date Published: Sep 12, 2023

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

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