Three SME resellers rocked by £20,000 fraud

The channel has been warned to lookout for suspicious orders following a spate of costly long term frauds perpetrated against resellers. In recent weeks three resellers have delivered £20,000 worth of laptops to fraudsters that ordered the kit via a company called Media Buying Solutions (MBS).

The channel has been warned to lookout for suspicious orders following a spate of costly long term frauds perpetrated against resellers.

In recent weeks three resellers have delivered £20,000 worth of laptops to fraudsters that ordered the kit via a company called Media Buying Solutions (MBS).

This firm has demonstrated unusual patterns of behaviour since late 2008; twice notifying Companies House of plans to dissolve the business, of changes to directorships and filing fictitious accounts earlier this year to get a credit rating.

One of the victims who spoke to MicroScope on the proviso that it maintains anonymity said they had bought information on MBS from a credit reference agency that had given the company a top score.

"My advice to small resellers is to explore [in more detail] any information gleaned from a credit assessment company," said the Surrey-based dealer.

Police are working with the reseller to catch those behind the scams but he added: "My gut feeling is they are still out there and will do it again."

The other two resellers - one based in Buckinghamshire and the other in Bristol -  were unavailable to comment at the time of going to press but the fraudsters at MBS have also been busy tapping up other firms in the channel.

Alan Norton, head of intelligence at Graydon UK, which launched a fraud busting service for resellers last year, said it had received nearly 40 credit enquiries from suppliers about MBS and they were continuing.

"We have seen a spike in attempted frauds, and unfortunately resellers are getting hit as they are seen as easy targets compared to distributors which have the manpower and controls in place," he said.

A significant fraud can be the "death knell" for any small reseller said Nitin Joshi, founder of Channel Money, as they need to pay back the distributor for the goods sold.

"A VAR has got to generate around £150,000 worth of new profitable sales to recover that loss of £20,000," he said.

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