Fraudsters posing as a bike shop have attempted to scam Hotlines for £8,000 worth of bikes.
The familiar ploy saw Hotlines called from someone posing as one of the distributor's customers to order bikes to the combined value of £8,000.
The catch is that it was not actually a dealer making the call and had Hotlines shipped the bikes then they would have been intercepted after a request for a re-route – leaving the firm £8,000 out of pocket.
UPDATE: Since running this story, BikeBiz has been contacted by Mavic with another report of attempted fraud.
Mavic was targeted three weeks ago by someone posing as a retailer calling, using the correct names and placing an order for approximately £3,000. Later that day, Mavic received a call asking to re-direct the shipment to an address other than the shop. At this point Mavic's suspicions were raised, so the firm contacted the shop to check it was correct and the order was not placed by them. The fraudster left a mobile number that in three weeks of calls has never been answered.
UPDATE 2: This week (18th October) we've had yet another report, this time of someone posing as a customer of Moore Large. The fraudster rang the distributor's sales team claiming to be Paul from Highfield Cycles and ordered 15 BMXs, all while chatting to the telesales operative about work going on outside the shop.
They then phoned back asking to pick up items because roadworks outside the shop made delivery difficult. ML then guessed this wasn’t Highfields and said they would have to call back with a collection slot. Highfield Cycles confirmed it wasn’t them and Moore Large contacted police.
The fraudsters didn't stop there though – they sent an email chasing the order using the Highfields logo, with a mobile number and email – but Moore Large said it believed the would-be fraudsters knew they have been rumbled as they have had no contact since.
One of the best ways to avoid falling victim to the scam is to call back any shop placing bike orders on their landline to confirm it was them that you just spoke with and that the order is legitimate.
According to reports, some of the scammers are even giving correct names for shop staff so calling the shop back is advised to confirm orders. Alternatively there's more thoughts on avoiding falling victim in this article here and in the comments below.