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Agent warns industry after window signage fraudsters scam his firm

Richard Crosby of Kent agency Lovetts says fraudsters cloned legit firm's identity to trick him into paying £2,400 for new LED signage.

Nigel Lewis

lovetts diplay scam

An agent in Kent is warning others to be wary when ordering window displays after being targeted by scam.

Richard Crosby, MD of independent estate agency Lovetts, which has branches in Margate and Birchington, says he wants to alert others within the property industry to the fraud he was subjected to.

Crosby says the scammers, who claimed to be from a legitimate signage business called We Do Signs, contacted him via email offering to supply LED window displays for both his agency’s branches.

“Make your estate agency stand out from the crowd with LED Light Pockets,” the email said, claiming falsely to have already supplied an firm in Middlesex.

“LED Light Pockets offer an innovative tool to promote your business in a professional and eye catching way, drawing customers in.”

But the fraudsters had instead copied the branding of the legitimate company and used an email address with an almost identical URL to the real firm.

The real We Do Signs does not manufacture signage for estate agencies, and the company was not involved in any way in the fraud.

richard crosby lovetts scam“The email I received from ‘Dan’ looked legitimate as did the email address and their bank payment details which came up as We Do signs, so after having a relatively lengthy discussion about cost via email I paid £2,000 plus VAT and awaited the new signage,” says Crosby (pictured).

“Even though they got the VAT rate wrong, I made the classic mistake of thinking that this was such as good deal that we might as well just roll with it,” he says.

But six days later nothing had arrived and despite several chasing emails and apologetic replies about stock and delivery problems, the scammers eventually went silent.

Crosby is urging agents to be wary of fraud attempts like this which appear to be increasing during Covid while face-to-face contact is less common and more suppliers are switching to online only sales methods.

April 13, 2021

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