CASE ONE – A narrow escape because of EFTA
In March 2009 EFTA received information that a long established company with a good reputation had been acquired by ‘parties’ with a history of buying such companies, unbeknown to the suppliers, and thereafter quickly running them into the ground leaving a trail of unpaid bills sometimes running into millions.
The ‘acquisition information’ was immediately passed to the EFTA Membership and one Member, who a few days before had opened a credit account with a limit of £25,000 based on standard credit reference agency information, immediately cancelled the facility which luckily had not been used.
Within two months the company in question had gone into administration with over £1.3 million of unpaid suppliers – many of them hauliers. Thanks to EFTA the Member who withdrew the credit account was not amongst the unlucky ones.
CASE TWO – Scam information supplied by an EFTA Member
One of the Association ‘Container Ship’ Members reported that they had fallen victim to a scam where a container was booked to carry a legitimate cargo to be paid for on arrival. The container was shipped, but not collected when it arrived at the designated destination. Eventually it was discovered that the container was full of ‘scrap tyres’ which the EFTA Member had been duped into taking away to avoid the cost of having them legally disposed of.
EFTA warned its membership about the company which carried out the ‘scam’ in order that other Members could make sure that they did not fall for the same trick.
CASE THREE – Bogus Accounts Filed At Companies House To Get Credit
An EFTA Member reported that they had fallen victim to a scam by being duped into giving credit to company, which had obtained a good credit rating as a consequence of filing a set of bogus accounts at Companies House, where goods (tiles) were delivered to an industrial address in the Midlands which goods then ‘disappeared’.
The information was passed to the EFTA Membership and several Members reported that they had also received approaches from the same company but had luckily declined to give credit because of the ‘scam alert’ they had received. Had EFTA not issued the warning they would have extended credit based on the available standard credit reference agency information.
Thankfully the EFTA Member ‘caught’ by the scam was insured.
The police are investigating the company in question.
CASE FOUR – Alleged Payment & Refund Request Scam
In Autumn 2009 an EFTA Member was asked to provide a quote after a freight enquiry from a new customer. It being a new customer the Member sensibly asked for pre-payment and provided the relevant bank account details. A ‘sizeable sum’ bank draft was paid directly into the account by the new customer and the Member then received an approach saying that the money had been paid by mistake and asked for it to be returned to an account in Dubai.
To the unsuspecting this may seem all innocent and as you have not actually done any work you might ask your bank to refund the money as you assume that the payment received is cleared funds as it was made by way of a bank draft. However, and it could be quite some time later, your bank advises that the bank draft was bogus so you never did receive payment and you were the target of scammers. If you did make the requested ‘repayment’ you will not see your money again.
The EFTA Member who received the approach quickly suspected that this was a scam and passed on the information to the Association which, in turn, immediately informed the membership.