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Business Forum

News - 9 February 2005
Good guy - bad guy? Can you tell the difference?

Are you on the Suckers List?

The world of skulduggery is not to be left behind in this new age of sophistication and automation. The bandits of the world have, it would appear, united to share their ill-gotten intelligence on unsuspecting victims.

By simply responding to promotions offering you any one of your wildest dreams for free you will have added your name to the ‘Suckers List’ and you can expect the dregs of the underworld to come knocking on your door! But all is not lost Brighton & Hove Council is working on a scheme to protect you.

Fraudsters are now selling names of known ‘suckers’ (people who have responded to get rich quick offers) to other fraudsters. There is a sophisticated network of bad guys making it very difficult for honest people to go about their business. Everyone is a potential victim and as things stand honest traders will be viewed with as much suspicion as the villains.

The latest reported prank is a team effort and involves a courier and someone posing as a neighbouring trader. Peter Stocker, secretary of the North Laine Traders Association explains, “The way the scam works is someone rings you pretending to be from a nearby shop (but not too close so you know them well) to say his car has broken down. A courier is arriving within minutes with some really important papers, which he must have today. He asks if you can pay the £59.00 to the courier and he’ll sort it out with you when his car is repaired and he can get in to his shop.

“A motorcycle courier turns up complete with dark visor with an official looking package with security tags, asks you to sign a delivery sheet, and takes your £59.00. When opened the package contains two neatly folded daily papers. Needless to say no one shows up to collect it.”

In order to restore confidence in bona fide service providers Brighton & Hove Council is proposing to introduce an accreditation scheme to inspect organisations and differentiate those that are operating on the right side of the law from those that are not. The scheme was initially devised to protect the consumer but business-to-business operators can and should be included.

Read related items on:
Brighton & Hove City Council
North Laine Traders Association
Stocker, Peter

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