Watch out for scams

BPMA members are being alerted to a series of scams that several companies have been targeted by.

Several email scams were circulating prior to Christmas. One, spotted by Set Marketing, purported to be from the University of Birmingham and requested setting up an open trading credit account with the company. The email, which was signed by ‘Jonathan Long’ asked about the availability of 1,000 4GB USB flash drives.

On checking with the University, the supplier was told that University often has this type of procurement scam.

Another company received an email from ‘Harvey Connor’ of Amarilli Biosciences in Manchester requesting a quote to supply 1,500 blank keyrings for delivery to its offices as soon as possible. A quick Google search revealed that Amarilli Biosciences and the person behind it has been operating various company names from this address, prompting numerous complaints online.

Also, doing the rounds recently is a directory scam letter which asks companies to validate their data online. According to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, this scam is when a business receives a form in the post, by email or fax, appearing to offer a free listing in a business directory.

The business is asked to return the order form even if they don’t want to place an order, but the small print states that by returning the form, you are committing to an order and will pay for ongoing entries in the directory. This costs hundreds of pounds a year and the bogus publisher may try to enforce the debt by sending threatening ‘debt collection’ letters.

Action Fraud recommends that companies report scam emails to help disrupt fraudsters. The reports received by Action Fraud are forwarded to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau run by the City of London Police for collation and analysis. This intelligence enables preventative action to be taken to close down the links between fraudsters and the victim.

Last year (January 2015 – December 2015) Action Fraud received on average 8,000 reports per month, with 96,699 people reporting that they had received a phishing scam.

For more information on fraud, go to

What should you do if you’ve received a scam email?

  • Do not click on any links in the scam email.
  • Do not reply to the email or contact the senders in any way.
  • If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.
  • Do not open any attachments that arrive with the email.
  • If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank.(Source: Action Fraud)

Spotting fake emails

  • Scam emails may display some of the following characteristics:
  • The sender’s email address doesn’t tally with the trusted organisation’s website address.
  • The email is sent from a completely different address or a free web mail address.
  • The email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting like “dear customer”.
  • A sense of urgency; for example, the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed.
  • A prominent website link. These can be forged or seem very similar to the proper address, but even a single character’s difference means a different website.
  • A request for personal information such as user name, password or bank details.
  • The email contains spelling and grammatical errors.
  • You weren’t expecting to get an email from the company that appears to have sent it.
  • The entire text of the email is contained within an image rather than the usual text format.
  • The image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site.

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