published: 27/03/2011 09:30 - Updated: 25/03/2011 18:56
Firm avoids £50k scam
thanks to vigilant bank
BY KEELEY KNOWLES
A business had a lucky escape from a suspected scam
after being asked to transfer almost £50,000 to a company in Dubai.
Conditioning & Refrigeration Ltd,
based at Bedford Technology Park, Thurleigh, was initially contacted by
a man called ‘John’ who said he was from A-Four General Trading LLC
in Dubai last month. He wanted to order around £5,000 of solar panels
to be delivered to the country.
The sales team sent him an invoice with the firm’s
bank details so he could pay the sum.
But earlier this month, Sean Handley, sales director
at Orion, said they received
notification from their bank – Lloyds TSB – about a cheque paid in
to the branch in the High Street, Bedford, suspected to be
fraudulent/counterfeit of £49,600.
In the meantime the company had received an email
from the same address – this time from somebody called Mike – asking
to confirm the payment ‘as soon as possible to enable us to
It said that due to an ‘erroneous blunder made by
the financial department’ they issued Orion’s payment with another
company’s payment – therefore resulting in the £49,600 instead of
Mr Handley said: “The scariest thing about this is
that somebody actually went into our branch bank in Bedford to pay in
the cheque. We do deal with companies in Dubai so had no reason to
suspect the order initially and so sent them our bank details.
“But what happens is that they then say they have
overpaid you and ask you to transfer the money back to their account.
While it shows on your account, it hasn’t actually cleared, so if you
transfer the money then you’ll be out of pocket.” Mr Handley said he
contacted the named ‘drawer’ of the cheque – an independent
retailing and distribution company CJ Lang & Son Ltd, based in
Dundee, and was told that somebody had stolen their cheque book a number
of years ago.
He added: “When I spoke to them they said they had
received a few calls about it. Luckily, Lloyds Bank is on the ball with
this sort of thing and flagged it up before it got any further.” A
spokeswoman for Bedfordshire Police said that a statement would be taken
from Mr Handley and his colleague next month but it was likely the case
would be referred to a police force in Scotland.
A spokesman for C J Lang & Son Ltd said: “We
do not have a trading relationship with Orion
nor have we issued any cheques to them.
“The cheque which Orion
received is undoubtedly a forgery. We are grateful to Orion
for making us aware of this attempted fraud and we have advised our
A spokesman for Lloyds said: “We take fraud
extremely seriously. We have a range of measures in place to help detect
and prevent instances of fraud, but we also urge our customers to remain
vigilant to suspicious activity relating to their businesses.” We
could find no record of A-Four General Trading LLC in Dubai.
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