Issued By
Cumbria County Council

LATEST INVOICE SCAM HITS LOCAL BUSINESSES

The latest scam to hit businesses in Cumbria is an invoice demanding payment of £48.99 for a book that has neither been ordered nor received. The invoice is from a company called Universal Books of P O Box 36907, London SE6 3YQ, and targets various trade sectors. In the case of the veterinary and medical professions, the invoice is in respect of a book entitled ‘Handbook of Antibiotics’. Dentists in the county have received an invoice for ‘Applied Dental Materials’. Businesses in other trade sectors have received demands for payments for books which have not been ordered or received, but the common theme is the amount demanded, £48.99, and the sender, Universal Books. In fact, the books do not appear to exist.

Phil Ashcroft, Head of Cumbria Trading Standards, said “This is another example of businesses receiving demands for payment for goods that they haven’t ordered, in the hope that some businesses will pay without questioning the invoice. My advice to companies who receive this invoice is to bin it. I would be particularly interested to hear from any business that has unwittingly paid the £48.99”.

The sender of these invoices should not be confused with limited company, Universal Books Ltd of Kings North Industrial Estate, Hoo, nr Rochester, who are a genuine business supplying cards/books.

Ends

Notes for Editors:

1. This scam is run from a council flat in Catford, London, using a P O Box number. Local police are investigating.

2. Complaints about these invoices targeting dentists, travel agents, estate agents, vets and housing associations, have been received from all over the country (from Aberdeen to the Isle of Wight).

3. For more information on this press release, contact Patrick Thomas or Phil Ashcroft at Cumbria Trading Standards on 01539 773591/01539 773586.