Fraud through the web


A shipbroker sought ITIC's assistance because fraudsters were using their address and VAT number. They advised that they had received a call from a man whose girlfriend wanted to buy a vintage sports car. The person selling it was in Italy. The purchaser had found a company in the UK that offered to act as a stakeholder for cross border car sales. The company offered to hold the client's money then release the purchase price when the car was shipped.

The man was concerned because when he went on the website he noticed that the phone numbers given were mobile telephones. He checked the address given and found it was the shipbroker’s office address. He contacted the shipbroker who realised the website was also using their VAT number.

The shipbroker contacted ITIC, who requested Thomas Miller's team of specialist investigators, Signum Services, to advise on the best way to deal with the situation. Signum provided the details of the specialist VAT fraud office. The company reported the case to the Fraud Office and the website was promptly closed down.

Date: 31/08/2010

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