Alcohol companies have been asked to warn lorry drivers not to be duped by thieves posing as warehouse staff.
Following a spate of thefts logistics companies flagged up the risk of robberies at a recent meeting of WSTA Logistics Group.
As part of the Group’s work it considers fraud risks and contributes to discussions with HMRC through the Joint Alcohol Anti-Fraud Task Force.
Alcohol exports and imports have recently been targeted on their way to the warehouse.
The lorry drivers are stopped near the destination by someone with plausible paperwork, who appears to be expecting the load and claims to work at the warehouse.
The driver is told the warehouse is busy and that the goods should be dropped off round the corner.
It is, of course, stolen at that point.
There are also instances when drivers are alleged to have colluded in this type of theft.
To prevent being raided companies should give drivers clear instructions never to drop their load anywhere other than within the warehouse premises.
If they are approached drivers should call 999 immediately and ask for Police assistance.
In a second type of fraud, legitimate company details are being used to make corrupt purchase orders appear genuine.
The fraudsters use contact details such as telephone numbers and e-mail addresses which are subtly different from the real ones - for example .com instead of .co.uk.
The delivery address will take the goods straight to the thieves’ premises.
Or on some occasions the correct delivery address will be given but the consignment is then diverted while en route.
Sometimes these frauds appear crude; others appear very plausible and are often addressed to hundreds of potential suppliers, who may be lured in by the idea of a major UK customer.
These crimes can be difficult to prevent and detect.
Regular suppliers can be given clear advice about how orders will be made and processed, but prospective suppliers do not have that protection.
Companies can help by being willing to respond quickly to queries from potential suppliers who may be victims of this sort of scam.
To help stamp out this type of fraud, companies are asked to report incidences to ActionFraud – www.actionfraud.police.uk and to the WSTA as we can alert members of the Fraud Prevention Unit to the details being abused in each case.