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British jam scam swindles Finnish firm

International supply chains can bring new products to market, but they also offer opportunities to fraudsters—as one Finnish berry company found out to their cost.

Marjamaan mansikkahillopurkki
A Lappeenranta jam producer was left out of pocket after filling an order sent to the UK. Image: Jari Tanskanen/Yle

Last autumn Lappeenranta jam producer Scandic Berries Oy received an order for tens of thousands of jars of jam, to be delivered to the United Kingdom. The customer claimed to be representing big British retailers.

The products were delivered to London, but the bill for the products was not paid. The Finnish company only noticed when the company tried to order more.

Scandic Berries Managing Director Anna Nevvonen says that her firm did make certain checks by phone and email. The customer even sent a signed and sealed contract, but that turned out to be a forgery.

It is not, apparently, an isolated case. Police say that Finnish firms have seen an uptick in fraud cases in which foreign buyers order their products, but after taking delivery don't bother paying up.

"This creates extra work for the police all the time," said Teemu Liikkanen of south-east Finland police. "Investigations are tricky when there's an international dimension."

Liikkanen advises companies to make sure they know to whom they are sending the products, and what contracts they have agreed. That can help ensure there is some evidence after the fact if something goes wrong.

In the case of Scandic Berries' phantom jam order, Liikkanen says that co-operation with the British authorities has been challenging. Finland's National Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation, and the company has reported the crime to British police, but as yet the villains have not been apprehended.

Sources: Yle

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