Scams aimed at traders

Updated: 8/7/2019

Fraudsters often make initial approaches to businesses by telephone. They know you will be busy and hope to trick you into unwittingly agreeing to something. 

They will use a carefully designed script to mislead you into accepting products or services that you do not need or want, or to get company information to use for future scams.

You could receive a form in the mail, e-mail or fax, appearing to offer a re-listing, or asking if you wish to continue being included in a business directory or similar publication. You may be asked to check the details about your business that the publisher plans to place in the publication and to return the form even if you do not want to place an order. In the small print it will state that by signing the form you are committing to an order. If you sign and return the form you are agreeing to pay for ongoing entries in the publication, costing hundreds of pounds per year.

Not all scams rely on entirely made-up proposals or products. Some of them offer a genuine service, but at vastly inflated prices or with unwanted add-ons that involve unexpected additional costs.

Advice to avoid scams

  • You can protect your company by making sure that your staff is aware of how a fraudster could target you. Traders do not have the same protection against fraud companies as consumers, and many traders are exposed to misleading marketing.
  • Ensure that you fully understand any offers made to you. If in doubt, ask detailed questions and always read the small print.
  • Seek advice from a lawyer.
  • Do not be rushed or pressurized into making a decision - if an offer is genuine, you should be allowed time to consider it.
  • Check the unsolicited caller/sender by directly contacting the organization they claim to represent.
  • Ensure that you have full contact details including an address, not just a PO Box number or mobile phone number.
  • Say NO if in any doubt.
  • And finally - cut your losses. If you are unfortunate enough to have been scammed, do not be tempted to recoup your losses by responding to an even more attractive offer. Fraudsters also make money by selling on so called "suckers lists" to others.