Fraudsters are dining out on the proceeds of a new credit card scam.
Con men are using credit card details harvested from a bogus (and now defunct) gadget website – called www.instant-av.co.uk – to fund huge restaurant orders.
One London restaurant alone lost £10,000 supplying food and drink against stolen card details traceable to the website, according to anti-fraud alert site Early Warning. Other takeaways and restaurants in the London area have also been hit by the scam.
Meanwhile, consumers who forked out for goods such as iPods and consoles on offer through the bogus site are also being left out of pocket. None of the goods were ever delivered, while the credit card accounts of those ordering were being raided.
Only operational for a month and now shut down, instant-av.co.uk did not display the "padlock" security symbol that indicates credit card details are being transmitted across an encrypted link. Google has suspended payment facilities on sites believed to be associated with the scam, and London police have been notified.
London restaurants should be wary of any orders they may receive over the telephone where the customer wants to pay with more than one credit card, especially when punters say the order will be collected by taxi.
Early Warning managing director Andrew Goodwill said consumers should be wary of offers that seem too good to be true.
"There will always be internet fraud, and no doubt these fraudsters will be up and running again quickly, but there are simple ways to enjoy the benefits of shopping online. Firstly, always look for the padlock symbol that shows the site is secure. And never be blinkered by an apparent bargain – it could cost you dear," he said. ®