Fraudulent hire is not something that is new within the AV and the Events industry, but we have noticed a substantial rise in this over the last two years. This has led to various Facebook and chat pages starting to share information. Whilst DJ and similar equipment is the most popular, this can affect all businesses. Hire desks need to be fully aware of the problems and have systems in place to recognise these potential scams. Some of these hirers have become very sophisticated in their actions and it is clear they have a good knowledge of how the industry works.
Fraudulent Hire – An Increasing Problem? This article is specifically looking at thefts arising in the Audio Visual and Event industry, but these problems also appear in many other business sectors. The risk of theft by fraudulent hires has been present for some time but appears to have been increasing over the last few years. Below we show some actual claims examples and then some suggestions as to actions which can be taken to reduce the chances of your company being affected.
After phoning to book for a hire and paying by credit card, which is fully authorised, the Client arrived at the Hirer’s premises and collected the goods. The Hire Company took a note of the registration number. A week later the credit card payment is withdrawn (credit card payments are not guaranteed), it was found the vehicle had false plates. The goods were never returned.
New Hirer phones requesting goods are to be delivered to their Company. Utility Bills are provided for the Company address. When the van arrives, the Hirer meets them outside and explains that they are going to take them straight to site so can they please load the goods direct on to his own van. The premises have no connection with the Hirer and the van is never seen again.
A Director of a Company phones for a hire and provides a Utility Bill and a copy of a Passport for a Director. Credit check proves that their credit history is good. The Hirer collects the goods. The Hirer has no connection with the Company. The Utility Bill and Passport are forged. There is no photograph of the Director on the web-site so the photograph could not have been checked. The Company shown as the Hirer is completely bona-fide but know nothing of the fraudulent use of their name.
There are many other examples we can provide but it is clear there are some sophisticated fraudulent hirers in action at present. Insurance policies will include conditions for hires. Hire companies not only need to be aware of these but also of possible problems so that even when the conditions are complied with, additional questions are asked. We would be happy to discuss other options which are available to minimise the chance of this happening to your Company and the loss of your equipment.