Plastics recycler Luxus fell victim to “elaborate scam” involving identity theft, according to the firm's financial director, Nicolas Page.
“In November last year we were contacted by a company that claimed they'd been given our name by another plastics processor and that a couple of our PP grades had been identified as suitable for their product needs,” explained Page.
“In December they contacted us to place an order, our credit application forms were returned together with a copy of their company letterhead etc. The usual credit checks were then made via our credit reference agency.
"Although the resulting report showed their registered address as different to the one supplied as their trading address, this didn't raise undue suspicion. The fact however, that plastics was not their principle business did.
Luxus contacted the firm's head office using a number listed on its website. “When queried they claimed that their Birmingham site was a new acquisition made in the summer, while the other side of the business was still handled out of their registered office in Kent,” Page said.
“We then received an order which was subsequently delivered to their Birmingham address. Then in early January they asked for product details and for more material. As a result, we applied for and received a higher credit limit via our credit insurance company, so a second delivery was made.”
A few weeks later e-mails sent to company started to bounce back and phone calls went unanswered. The ordering company's website had also been taken down, discovered Luxus.
“We then made enquiries in the Birmingham area and contact was finally made with the auditors of the company,” Page continued. “They confirmed they had no activities in the plastics sector – it had been a case of corporate identity theft and fraud. The scammer had already unfortunately moved on to their next victim prior to us visiting their Birmingham site.
“We've since become aware that at least one other plastics company has been caught by this elaborate fraud and it's likely there are many more. We are now reviewing our new customer policy to prevent this happening again.”