Say a customer comes to you and admits that, for whatever reason, they cannot pay their debt.
They must seem genuine enough, right, considering it is coming from them directly?
It is always good to be on your guard, all that glitters is not gold.
This is true especially when looking for a new supplier, as you’ll see from my experience below.
A while back, I needed to update my computer virus subscription as the prior one was out of date.
Once updated, I tried to upload the new subscription, but I’m not a computer expert and this befell me.
As a result, I needed to give them a call, and the easiest way to get their number was to type this well known Virus Provider into Google.
…. which I did, and found it advertised via Google Ad-words right at the top of the page.
The number was a UK based freephone number for Company A, which I called and was directed to a Call Centre based in India. (As a lot of larger corporations have overseas support staff based overseas, I thought nothing of it.)
Here the Call Receiver requested that he share my Screen to enable quick and effective installation of my computer.
After around ten minutes of him dilly dally around on my Computer, he advised me that there was a virus in my computer and that in order to remove it he would need to charge me £119 (separate to the yearly subscription I had already paid).
Initially, this came as a bit of a surprise and panic set in that there were perpetrators violating my system, so I whipped out my Credit Card to give to Company A.
The crunch came, however, when I requested a quote and something in writing. They refused, stating that once the work had been completed, then they would Invoice me for the work.
… Naturally, I became defensive stating that, as the Subscription Provider already had my details, why on earth would I need to provide this again.
I consequently hung up the phone.
I then typed into Google the Virus Provider UK number, which led me to another UK based freephone number, and I called Company B.
Just as the panic had set in with Company A, the same set of circumstances took place again. However, Company B were more callous – it materialised afterwards that they had tried to gain access to my Internet Banking details.
Thanks to the Bank’s high security firewalls, they weren’t able to.
It was only when I contacted the Virus Provider’s Head Office directly that they advised me off the problem they were experiencing with companies utilising simple fraudulent tools to advertise their services across to unsuspecting Customers.
Which brings me back to the morale of this article.
You can never judge a book by its cover, and you will certainly come across Customers or Suppliers who try to dupe you.
It is, therefore, worthwhile investigating what they tell you.
Not only that, it’s also worth seeing if they have a social media footprint too. Ensure that it is up to date and true to form in relation to what they say to you.
If in doubt, ask for documentation.
I have had this time and again, in which Customers state that they have gone bust, but on checking it has not turned out to be the truth.
…. or where a Customer has entered into a CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement), but by not conducting the necessary checks in the first instance has led to their being granted full credit terms.
Little slip ups can cost your company dear, therefore it is always vital to do your due diligence both historically and currently on their current trading position.