The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has been made aware of a new advertising scam that is targeting independent workshops.
Members have notified the industry body about phone calls received, 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.
Callers apparently know a lot about the business they are targeting, including staff names and other trade associations they belong to. In addition, the scam is only contacting garages that have already placed newspaper adverts.
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, and the IGA believes it is likely that garages in other areas will be targeted before long.
In a statement on their website, the industry body says: “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 Member Helpline on 0845 305 4230 as soon as you can.