The IGA has been made aware that some of our members have been victims of an advertising scam targeting independent garages.
Scammers have been calling garages claiming to be from a local newspaper, asking if they would like to place a low cost advert (around £25) as an offer in conjunction with the RMI. The caller may know a lot about your business, including staff names and trade associations you belong to, and so far they appear to be targeting independent garages who have previously placed adverts in the newspaper.
The caller is encouraging businesses to secure their advertising place by paying for it over the phone but attempts to take a large amount, in some cases up to £5,000, from the account. The banks have been able to block the fraudulent activity in most cases, however more recently scammers have been taking around £900, which hasn’t been flagged as suspicious by the banks and the money has been stolen. The police have been informed in all cases.
The scam has been identified across the Wales, London, West Midlands and Surrey so far with callers claiming to be from various local newspapers, so it is likely that garages in other areas will be targeted before long.
We have not had any communication with any publication, and have not negotiated any advertising offer for our members. We advise members not to accept any advertising offer by telephone unless you are absolutely satisfied with the identity of the caller, and to remain cautious whenever you are asked to make a payment over the phone.
If you become aware of any suspicious activity, please report it to the IGA Direct Member Helpline on 01788 225 908 as soon as you can in order for us to alert other members.