Company impersonation fraud is big business these days as scammers, fraudsters and criminals increasingly realize the advantages this type of fraud has over the more "traditional" types of fraud that target individuals.
We regularly deal with businesses that have fallen victim to this type of fraud and do what we can to help, but it is rare that a
customer scammer will attempt to draw us into this kind of activity. But that is exactly what happened to us and our debt collection affiliates in Germany recently.
On Friday we received an email from our debt recovery partner in Germany, this email included the name and contact details for a UK company that apparently had a debt to collect. Unfortunately our agent was unable to reach the potential customer direct and asked that we make contact to ascertain the requirements this company had.
The company in question was apparently called:
Synthite Chemicals Ltd
The contact was:
Mr Mike Seaman
So off we go trying to find a UK registered company called Synthite Chemicals Ltd and strangely we can't find any results. So we simplify our search and what do we find, a company with a very similar name to our prospective "customer" established in 1920.
By now, our scam radar was already in over-drive as this enquiry had all the hallmarks of fraud.
- An untraceable company with a name very similar to a long established and well known company in the same industry
- No means of contact except an email address and mobile number
- A website that was unavailable
So being the paranoid people that we are, we gave a quick call to the long established company we suspected was being impersonated and sure enough, they were already aware of this issue and had dealt with a number of other businesses that have been taken in by this company.
By now, we didn't need any further clarification that this was a fraud. So we contacted Mr Mike Seaman on 07012 932539 and it was obvious to us that this number was in fact being routed overseas. Mr Mike Seaman was somewhat reluctant to be drawn into conversation about Synthite Chemicals Ltd and its requirements, so reluctant in fact that he hung up on us and refused to take any further calls!
Needless to say we will not be doing any business with Synthite Chemicals Ltd in the near future and if they contact you we would advise you to give them a very, very wide berth!
Prevention & Detection
So how can you ensure that your company does not fall victim to these fraudsters? The answer, in most cases, is very simple. Credit Control.
A good credit control system should be able to identify the inconsistencies these scam
businesses artists and help your company to avoid becoming yet another fraud statistic. Your credit control system should:
- Establish the exact name & legal identity of any customer.
- Identify the names and home addresses of the owners/partners for any non-limited business.
- Identify the company registration number and directors names for any limited company.
- Identify the address for delivery of any goods and establish if this is a legitmate address.
- Help you identify any discrepancies in the information you have been provided.
Remember, if in any doubt about the legitimacy of an apparent customer you must establish their legitimate credentials before any goods or services are provided.
If you suspect the company in question is fraudulent or impersonating another company use your discretion and if necessary be prepared to pick up the phone and ask questions! In the event of non-payment any holes in your information will be readily apparent, so make sure you have all the data you need in advance.
Finally, if you are unsure of the legitimacy of a potential customer and want to talk to an expert, then contact us and one of our team will be happy to discuss your questions.
Update 6th September 2013
We received a comment on this blog today from "Christopher" at Synthite Chemicals Ltd today, we haven't allowed it but here it is in all its glory:
You should’ve find something more rewarding to do other than wasting your time writing all sorts of rubbish against people you don’t even know.. I’m not interest in what you wrote about synthitechem or Seaman Mike!
Synthitechem.org is just an amateur website just for practicing of web design by Children not scam website.
Beside, The Domain name is for sale if you are interested, contact me I’ll be willing to sell for 1000 pounds. if not go and remove this post."
Now, ignoring the terrible grammar and spelling we can say with certainty we have never tried to scam anyone, ever. Similarly we can say with certainty that Synthite Chemicals Ltd is definitely a scam. For all of the reasons listed above.
And finally, no thanks Mr Scammer we have absolutely no interest in buying the domain and nor will we remove this post. If you feel you have cause we would encourage you to seek legal advice.
Update 10th September
Oh no! Mr Scammer is angry... Today we had yet another comment left on this blog (that again, we haven't published) from the ominously named HackDevil (eeek!). With the following warning:
Needless to say, we wont be caving into idle threats from scammers over a blog post. Interestingly the IP addresses for both comments (18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124) resolve to Nigeria and here was us thinking that Synthite Chemicals Ltd wasn't a scam?!?
Confused? We are...
Image courtesy of Ivanpw on flickr. Shared under the Creative Commons License.