Wholesalers have seen a fall in business impersonation fraud targeting European suppliers, following reports in The Grocer and warnings by the FWD - but British suppliers are being targeted more than ever.

JJ Food Service said its name had not been used to defraud European producers since August, when fraudsters tried to place orders on credit and arrange delivery to a warehouse with no links to the wholesaler.

“I was delighted The Grocer ran stories raising awareness, as without any doubt this has saved losses,” said JJ Food Service group general manager Terry Larkin.

Another reason for the fall in incidents was that more suppliers were now calling FWD members to check orders were genuine, added FWD criminal intelligence analyst Isabel Koppel.

“In September, FWD circulated an advisory note to suppliers across Europe warning them to beware of fake orders in the names of UK wholesalers,” she said. “This has helped reduce the number of incidents, but the problem has not gone away, and we know from other trade associations that retailers are still being targeted.”

British suppliers are also increasingly in the firing line. There have been eight incidents in the UK since September involving fraudsters claiming to be JJ Food Service and trying to arrange for a haulier to collect ‘orders’ directly from a British supplier.

“Two companies lost stock with a total value of around £4,000,” said Larkin. “The others were aware of the fraud and, with a simple phone call, losses were avoided.”

Impersonation fraudsters have also used the names of Iceland, Asda, Berry Bros & Rudd, Brakes, Musgrave and AG Parfett & Sons. Most suppliers only discover they have been defrauded when they chased up payment, by which time the often perishable goods are long gone.