Scam warning issued as major equipment company loses £30k

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John Cunningham FEA

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is warning that scammers are targeting equipment suppliers with sophisticated schemes that could cost the industry tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.  The warning comes after one major equipment supplier and prominent FEA member lost nearly £30,000 worth of equipment to a scam.  

The company had received what appeared to be a legitimate enquiry from a known client.  Follow up emails all looked the part, with correct logos and contacts, and the ‘customer’ supplied a purchase order, again with everything looking legitimate.  

The ‘customer’ sent a van to pick up the equipment, with a driver who had ID and a copy of the purchase order.  He took the equipment – and that was the last the company heard of it.    

The company has reported the theft to the police, who are working on the case but the FEA says it doesn’t hold out much hope of recovery.  Meanwhile, it says the victim’s insurance company is being evasive – saying that they had given the equipment to the scammers. 

“Hopefully this is a one-off,” says John Cunningham, chief executive of FEA.  “However, it’s clear that these scammers were very sophisticated in their approach and their research.  It underlines how equipment suppliers need to be ever vigilant and, perhaps, need to audit their processes when it comes to checking orders are legitimate.”    

The FEA is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit 

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