WSTA sets up fraud prevention unit

13 May, 2011

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association is to launch a fraud prevention unit.

It will work with police and HM Revenue & Customs to combat a range of issues affecting consumers and the trade, including identity theft, counterfeiting and wine investment fraud.

The WSTA said the unit would meet the requirements of the Information Commissioner’s Office and Data Protection Act for the sharing of information between businesses.

It will enable WSTA member businesses to legally share information about actual or suspected fraudulent activity within the wine and spirit trade and liaise with police, HMRC and regulatory agencies.

Earlier this month, the WSTA stepped in after a member company became victim of corporate identity theft, costing over £10,000.

The fraudsters used fake e-mail addresses to obtain a wine order from one of the company's French suppliers before suspicions were aroused and the WSTA alerted the police and others in the trade.

WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said:  "It's not just consumers who suffer from fraud, it's also damaging to legitimate businesses within the trade and we want to ensure we are taking every possible step to combat the problem.

"Our new unit provides a real focus to our work in this area and enables responsible businesses to legally share information so that we can help the authorities."

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