Fraudsters target Bristol start-ups with charity publication scam

BRAVE Enterprise is warning small businesses in Bristol to be on their guard against so-called publication fraud after its business clients were targeted by criminals.

Cold callers have contacted several local businesses to sell advertising space in a bogus publication for what they claim is a good cause.

Callers give the impression that the publisher is working with local charities, emergency services, crime prevention or community health initiatives, according to the national cybercrime reporting centre Action Fraud. Sometimes the caller will say that a business has placed an order previously, or even that someone else in the business has agreed to take out the advertising space.

The fraudsters may also send the business invoices whether or not the victim has agreed to take out the advertising space.

Liz Sands, director of BRAVE Enterprise, said: “A number of our small businesses clients have been targeted by this type of fraud and one nearly paid money to the scammers involved.

“We want to warn others that these fraudsters are targeting new start-ups in the Bristol area so beware of anyone claiming to represent charities or the emergency services, and certainly don’t send any money unless you’re absolutely sure the caller is genuine.”

Go to https://who-called.co.uk to check whether a phone number has been reported as a scam. You can also report and get advice about cyber crime by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk