Fraud warnings to entrepreneurs – the email scam with fake imprints

Case study fraud attempt from UK

SME entrepreneurs: Be cautious about requests with fake emails on UK (Fraud) and other countries

To our China warning inquiries from China

More and more often we ourselves experience that not only consumers and consumers are exposed to the dangers of fraudsters on the Internet. Even with professional online shops such as our online cheese project Alpen Sepp, these very professionally acting or well-organised criminals are no longer an exception. If we had participated blindly and on trust in this business initiation, then we would have lost a lot of cheeses here and never seen the money, because the company in the UK officially stated in the email imprint knew nothing about it.

We would like to use this fraud attempt example, which we have only recently experienced, to show you the procedure for sensitization and warning. If we can prevent with it also only one fraud this is already a success.

It all started when we received a request from England via email, which at first sight seemed interesting:

The original email request from London (UK)

Dear Sir / Madam,
We are Waitrose Limited: Supermarket in UK. We are urgently looking for our customers in United Kingdom, these products below: Cheeses.
Please send us, by e-mail or by fax your availability (Products, Stocks and price lists).

Payment : in 30 days net after delivery by bank transfer as with all our suppliers cover by several banks and insurances COFACE, , Euler Hermes.
Shipping: by your forwarder directly to our international warehouse in London
Don’t hesitate to contact us for any further information.
We are waiting to your quick answer, so receive our respectful and sincere greetings.

Your Sincerely,
Mr. Jack Wilson
Purchasing Manager
Direct Line: +44 207 164 6581
Fax: +44 207 165 8776

Waitrose Ltd Supermarket Company Waitrose Groceries
171 Victoria Street London SW1E 5NN
Company Registration: 00099405 VAT registration: GB: 232457280

The first UK phone call with Mr. Wilson

Of course we are looking forward to many new customers abroad, who want to test our cheese and introduce it to cheese connoisseurs. It is therefore always easiest to simply get to know each other on the phone.

That’s why we called Mr. Wilson and wanted to find out a little more about the background to his business enquiry and get to know him “vocally”. The conversation went very well, everything was comprehensible, the quantities of cheese we needed were possible and the terms of payment were also in order.

We then suggested to him, as we always do, that he should place a test order in the shop with all the cheeses and taste them with his partners/colleagues. Since he does not know our cheeses, this is in our opinion the only viable way away. How else can you know which cheeses to order for your customers with “regional” taste senses? Then we make an offer.

He said no problem and we ended the phone call. Interestingly, there was no order, but every day a call from Mr. Wilson with an urgent request for a cheese quote because he has to order urgently – after all, a considerable amount of cheese. We found this both interesting (it’s a lot of money) and peculiar.

Now we checked the sender of the email – we always do that anyway – and recommend it to entrepreneurs / sellers.

Email Address: google does not find this address
Email ending: This page does not exist
Company name: Waitrose Ltd Supermarket Company Waitrose Groceries This company does not exist
Company Address: 171 Victoria Street London SW1E 5NN This address does not exist
Company Registration: 00099405 This number is correct
VAT registration: GB: 232457280 This number is correct
Phone number +44 207 164 6581 This number does not fit the company

Information call: Contact Waitrose Ltd by phone – Finance Department for payment protection

After the very interesting phone call we sent the original request of Mr. Wilson together with our text to Waitrose – CC also to him:

Dear Mr. Wilson

We had a phone conversation with the financial department of Waitrose UK – and send afterwards your contact details – according to their direction – for confirmation of authenticity of your inquiry to

Direct by phone they could not find you in the database – they told us they have to check details and will come back to us.

Can you explain us this curious situation ?

Best regards

We never heard from Mr. Wilson again !!!

Feedback from the legal department Waitrose – as a warning for all SME entrepreneurs

Dear Stephan

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that this is a fraudulent enquiry which has not come from Waitrose. I would encourage you not to dispatch any goods to the fraudster and immediately cease contact with them.

We are aware of several companies that have fallen victim to similar frauds, whereby the fraudster uses our business name and/or VAT registration number to convince reputable businesses to ship their products. It is only when John Lewis or Waitrose is pursued for payment that we are made aware of the fraudulent orders.

Similar frauds have been reported to Action Fraud from retailers across Europe and appears to be a widespread problem throughout the industry. Given the level of sophistication, it is likely that the fraudsters are a highly organised criminal group, and unfortunately this type of fraud is incredibly difficult for us to prevent.

We would recommend that you report this incident directly to Action Fraud. Their website is: Action Fraud is how all information relating to fraud is collated within the UK which is then passed onto the relevant police force for investigation.

I have attached a guide that the UK British Retail Consortium has produced which may be of use in the future. If you are a member of a similar retail group please share this information with your members. If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Waitrose Fraud Team

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