The Department for International Trade in France has been made aware of an increasing number of UK (but not only) Food & Drink companies being targeted by sophisticated delivery scams. Companies are being approached by people claiming to work for a French distribution organisation, wanting to sell their goods in France and seeking to place an order which will never be paid.
What to look out for?
- Email presentation or contents sound perculiar, often going too quickly to the point with no reference to a previous meeting etc.
- Immediate orders for large quantities without previously discussing terms. Expensive products such spirits are more often targeted, with orders coming either by email or through your online contact form.
- Non-professional looking signature, often including a telephone number starting in 09 (free internet numbers). However, there have been cases where telephone numbers use regional codes.
- As with most online based scams, common tricks include changing the email address or website slightly: missing letters, replacing letters such as c with ç, hyperlinking to fake pages and making sections of text invisible.
- Recent scams have seen people impersonate real people using information found on their Linkedin pages etc. and give themselves an air of credibility by providing extracts from French business registries Infogreffe, Sirene, (the French equivalents of Companies House) and Societe.com, as part of their initial approach.
DIT France have been made aware of cases concerning the impersonation of the following companies:
- Sodijour Distribution du Point du Jour
- Société Colmarienne de Distribution / Socodis Centre Distrib
- Foch Distribution
- Auchan (from @auchan-retailgroup.com)
- Mar-Dis Hypermarket
- Laval Dis
- Groupe B & B Hotels
- SAS AREAS Opérations de Restauration (fake website spells 'areas' with double 's').
- Lidl Hypermarket (from firstname.lastname@example.org note that purchases from Lidl come from Paris headquarters)
- Dainville Distribution / Dainvildis
- Nantes Nord Distribution
- Intermarché Shopping email@example.com ( note the 's' at the end of shopping in email address).
What to do?
If you receive any suspicious correspondence, please be sure to notify your International Trade Adviser and any trade organisations you are part of so we/they can warn others.