Fraudsters have been posing as a bike shop and making false orders with at least two distributors this week.
St John Cycles and Thorn Cycles have told BikeBiz that their name has been used to make fraudulent orders, with a courier then arriving at the supplier to pick up the false order.
The shop has shared the imposter's ordering habits:
- The supplier receives a phone call from a ‘Laura Morgan of St John Street Cycles’ to check availability of certain stock lines.
- They then placed an order over the phone for a total value of £6,000+ worth of stock.
- Laura Morgan then verified the order by emailing an Purchase Order to the supplier (using a mocked up purchase order, with a number of errors).
- This order had been arranged by Laura to be collected via courier, rather than have the supplier deliver the items to the store.
- The courier will be contacted by Laura once again to refuse delivery to her warehouse and instead arrange for the driver to drop it off to one of Laura’s own delivery vans as the warehouse is inaccessible for unforeseen circumstances (e.g. warehouse fire, chemical spill etc.).
Bike distributors are urged to be wary, particularly in orders where the 'shop' requests to send a courier to collect the order. The scam isn't original, but it does sound more sophisticated than some previous fraud attempts we've heard of.