Croydon trading standards issue magazine scam warning
A Manchester firm ripping off traders to the tune of hundreds of pounds has come to the attention of Croydon Council’s trading standards department.
Officers are warning local businesses to treat with extreme caution any advances from a company called MJP Design, based at 24 St Margaret’s Road, New Moston, Manchester.
The trading standards team has learned that callers from MJP contact small businesses and offer advertising in what they refer to as a crime-prevention magazine. Enquiries by the team have revealed that the magazine does not exist and is, in fact, a scam.
To date, officers are aware of one Croydon firm that has been contacted by MJP, though firms from other parts of the country are known to have been conned.
In the Croydon case, MJP invoiced the firm for £299, which the firm refused to pay. Since refusal, the firm has received phoned demands from callers claiming to be solicitors acting on behalf of MJP, and pressuring the firm for full payment. No contact details of the alleged law firm are given.
Letters written by the council’s team to MJP have been returned, marked “Not at this address”; emails have bounced back; and numerous phone calls have resulted in a male offering assurance of a return call from the manager. No such return call has been received, though the team remains keen to speak to a representative of the company.
Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “This is a scam that crops up every so often, and, sadly, there are always companies that are taken in by the offer of cheap advertising in what they’re told is a magazine with a guaranteed distribution to a targeted, and potentially lucrative, audience.
“It’s known that some companies have been conned on this occasion, although we’re not aware that any Croydon firms have been.
“I’d urge any local business approached by this company to contact our trading standards team. Also, anybody approached by a firm purporting to sell advertising in a magazine that the customer hasn’t heard of, should proceed with the utmost care, and not part with any money until they’re certain the approach is bona fide.”
To report any suspicious offers of advertising, call Croydon trading standards on 020 8407 1311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
DATE: 10 July 2013