The aim of the NEFF is to promote fraud awareness and successful fraud prevention strategies across both public and private sector regions.
Long Firm Fraud is where trading companies are set up with the intention of purchasing goods either for re sale or distribution, these goods will never be paid for. The companies have no real assets, employ staff and usually trade from premises that have been obtained on a short term lease.
The company will usually trade for no more than a six month period and during that time will buy goods on credit which can be disposed of easily.
In order to obtain these goods, credit accounts are opened using references from both legitimate companies who have not yet realised that they are themselves going to become a victim and from associates of the criminals who have set up similar companies in other parts of the country.
This type of fraud can hit most businesses if they do not have necessary fraud checks in place.
The effects of a Long Firm Fraud were highlighted by a leading insurance company in a case study. In August 2002 a leather goods company sold two consignments of goods to a UK registered company trading from premises in Scotland. It is thought that the fraudsters obtained the suppliers details from a brochure obtained at a trade fair.
Following the opening of an account an order for goods totalling £9000 was dispatched, however no payment was received for the goods. Following the raiding of the company premises in Scotland by the Police it was discovered that the company had disappeared leaving behind a small amount of stock. The resulting financial loss led the supplier to experience cash flow problems with staff wages not being paid and the company loans going into default.
In the words of the company Director “It felt like I was living in a house of cards that was slowly collapsing piece by piece, and I could do nothing”. “Our business was facing closure, and with it the ruin of all our hopes and efforts. But more than anything, the frustration that the fraudsters could act with such impunity and get away with it, coupled with the shame of owing so much money to so many people was simply overwhelming”.
These are some checks that you should do before you authorise the opening of an account to help prevent you or your business becoming a victim of this crime.