A 34-year-old man was arrested in Dungannon by police investigating a series of credit card frauds, including one that cost a Mid Ulster business £5,000 in stock.
Urging businesses to be cautious when taking credit card payments for goods over the phone, police said the scam has hit a number of companies in the area.
Detective Inspector Will Tate said: “An agricultural supplies business in the Mid Ulster area has lost £5,000 of stock as a result.
“Police are currently investigating a UK wide credit card fraud which entails someone purporting to buy up large quantities of stock from various sectors.
“Orders and payments are taken over the telephone and a number of credit cards are used to make payment. Reports suggest the person placing the order may have an Asian-type accent and asks for the order to be dispatched quickly.
“The ‘buyer’ will send a local, independent courier to collect on their behalf who is not involved in the scam.
“As part of ongoing Police enquiries a quantity of silage netting was recovered in the Dungannon area on August 22,” he went on.
“It is thought this may have been purchased with a fraudulent credit card. Police are keen to speak to anyone who is aware of netting being purchased in this way recently.
“A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud and has since been released on bail pending further enquiries.
“Police appeal for any victims to come forward or anyone with information, and are warning businesses and local couriers advertising on internet sites to be aware of who they are working for.
“Average loss is around £6,000,” he added saying that although last year £113,000 losses were reported, this may be just the tip of the iceberg.
“These people are brazen. They are targeting every sector across the country and some and police are appealing to business owners to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to police.”
There are a number of things business can do to help prevent them falling victim to this type of crime:
· Do not accept credit cards for large orders - request a bank transfer which is secure
· Checks can be done on the credit card details provided. Google search the first four digits to identify which credit card company/ bank the card belongs to and then contact that bank to verify the transaction/ cardholder details. If it doesn’t match then do not accept payment.
· These fraudsters want to break down payment onto a number of credit cards. Money is not an option and there is no price negotiation
· They will take whatever you have. Quantities/ specifications are immaterial
· They fraudsters will not let the business arrange the courier, insisting on providing their own
· Ask questions about where the goods are to end up/ what they are for. Check to ensure the information is legitimate
· They do not want or will not accept an invoice
· Question any courier attending about who they are working for/ where goods are going, check information before releasing goods