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In their cups

That’s what several French wine producers must have been to fall for a recent scam where conmen posed as leading UK wine merchants and “took delivery” of several thousand bottles of their wine.

According to Decanter magazine, the conmen used logos and headings from the websites of wine merchants such as Thorman Hunt, Berry Bros & Rudd, Liberty Wines and Wine and Beer World to fake order forms from those companies. The forms gave mobile numbers and private email addresses rather than fixed lines and company email accounts.

Fair enough – your average French vintner would be unlikely to recognise a UK 07 number as belonging to a mobile phone. But you’d think that they’d be suspicious of dealing with a non-company email address, especially if it wasn’t backed up by any related website.

Worst of all, though – apparently the scam is a repeat performance of one carried out in late 2007/early 2008!

You’d think that “once bitten, twice shy” would apply, but it seems not. But several of the victims of this scam withheld their names when being interviewed for Decanter – and producers’ associations told Decanter they believed that many of their members would be too embarrassed to tell the police they’d fallen for it.

I wonder if we’ll see the same thing again this time next year?

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