What is it?

You pay in advance for goods or services for your business that are never received, with criminals creating fake websites and documents that appear genuine in order to trick you.

How to spot a purchase scam

  1. You receive an invoice for goods or services that have not been ordered
  2. You are sold goods at higher than average prices
  3. You are asked to pay by bank transfer instead of using the online platform’s secure payment options

Example of a purchase scam

Kyle* was looking to buy stationery for his business when he spotted a deal online that was a lot cheaper than any of his suppliers. The website looked to be professional and closely resembled that of a genuine business, convincing him to make payment via bank transfer, the only option available on the website. Kyle proceeded to do so, believing he was getting the deal of a lifetime and shortly received his invoice.

A week later, the stationary order still hadn’t been arrived. Kyle searched for the business’s contact details when he came across several bad reviews from customers, also awaiting their purchases. At that moment he realised he had fallen for a scam and lost his business a lot of money.

*Case studies are based on insights from partners

If you believe your business has been scammed, contact the bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on the back of your business’s bank card.

Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101.

Always remember

Be wary of anyone who calls on behalf of a supplier. Contact them direct using a known and trusted phone number or email

Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices

Use the secure payment methods recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites

Do your research before making any purchases by reading online reviews

Purchase items made by a major brand from the list of authorised sellers listed on their official website and ensure you receive proof of purchase

Double-check orders before making payment and return any items not ordered

Always access the website you’re purchasing from by typing it into your web browser and be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails

Always ensure you click ‘log out’ or ‘sign out’ of websites

If you have visited a website you think is suspicious you can report it to the National Cyber Security Centre.

Scam warning: Criminals may purport to be from Take Five, using our official branding on websites, social media posts, literature, on the phone or by text. Take Five doesn’t provide endorsement or approval for any products/services and would never call or text anyone.