Four Oaks scam grows more sophisticated

A sophisticated Mexican scam that could cost horticulture businesses more than 1,000 euros has started using photocopied signatures of UK company employees to try and trick businesses into parting with cash.

Prayon UK general manager Peter Holden said an invoice for 1,271 euros from Expo Guide SC in Mexico that was linked to the Four Oaks trade show had his employee Will Dale’s photocopied signature attached, even though the company does no business with Mexico and had never spoken to the guide.

Holden said: "It’s not just a basic scam, it’s a bit more sophisticated. They got hold of the signature of the right person in the company but it went to our financial controller who knew we had no dealings with Mexico. It’s a good attempt, I’ll give them that and you can see how someone could have gone for it."

The Expo Guide organisation, based in Mexico, asks exhibitors at trade shows around the world to sign up to its online directory before sending them a large bill.

Four Oaks director Pat Coutts said:

"The regulars know to ignore it but it's distressing for the newer ones and foreign exhibitors. We need to warn people again."

Exhibitors at the Cheshire trade show Geko, Gal, PGRO and Jellitto have all warned that they have been targetted by scammers (HW 20 and 23 July).

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