Warwickshire Trading Standards Service is warning School staff about a publishing scam that is being targeted at them.
Rogue businesses are copying legitimate adverts placed in newspapers and other publications by local authorities. They are then attaching their own bogus ‘order form’ before faxing both off to the named contact on the advertisement with a request that it be signed and faxed back to them.
The rogue business hopes that the recipient of the fax will sign it, thinking it relates to the legitimate advert and is part of the current campaign.
In fact, it is actually an order to place the advert in the rogue businesses own publication which is unlikely to have much, if any circulation, making it worthless.
The rogue business then sends a demand for £1400.
One Warwickshire school has already received such a fax.
One of the schools targeted reported receiving a follow up call from the rogue business shortly after receiving the fax. The caller claimed to represent the genuine advertiser (TES) and told the school that there had been a problem with the original advert, urging them to sign and return the fax asap.
If schools have received one of these faxes which they have then in error signed, they are strongly advised not to pay any demand for money but to contact Warwickshire Trading Standards instead on 01926 414040 and ask to speak to a member of the Investigations team.
Any contract which is based on fraud / misrepresentation is unlikely to be enforceable.
Warwickshire Trading Standards strongly urge County Council and school staff to check carefully any documents they receive that require signatures, especially if they relate to advertisements.
To report an incident, please contact Warwickshire Trading Standards
Telephone: 01926 414040