Spanish con targets Honiton businesses

The devil is in the detail.

Crafty con artists, operating outside the UK, are targeting Honiton businesses in a sting that could cost victims �800 each.

The devil is in the detail of paperwork being sent to traders in High Street.

It purports to record contact details for an “industry and commerce register of business information” and asks business owners to check the data carefully, before signing it off as correct and returning it in an addressed envelope to premises in Valencia.

But, as antiques dealer Tony Sabine points out, by signing the agreement, businesses legally commit themselves to paying for an advertisement costing 997 euros.

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“It’s a con,” Mr Sabine told the midweek Herald.

“But it is only classed as an offence if you part with any money.

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“I am concerned that the terms and conditions, printed on the back of the forms, are faint, small and hard to read. They also quote non-existent laws.

“Some older people are likely to sign and date it, meaning they will be committing themselves to �800 of debt.”

The scam letters, sent out in official-looking envelopes bearing the Royal Mail stamp, were received by a number of businesses in Honiton earlier this month.

False billing is a major growth area for scammers and government bodies across the globe, particularly in Australia and America, are warning businesses not to fall for them.

This particular scam, which reels victims in with its fine print, is based in Spain and is well-known to Trading Standards officers.

Businesses are urged to put the letters where they belong - in the bin.

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