business owners in Fife have been told to be on the lookout for a company selling fake advertising.
Fife Council Trading Standards warned local firms to be on their guard against rogue publishers, who trick unsuspecting victims to pay for advertising in publications which don’t exist.
Two independent businesses in Kirkcaldy’s Kirk Wynd were tricked into handing over cash to a man selling advertising space for a company called Guardian Angels.
Jacki Winter of vintage clothing store Secret Wardrobe, said: “A man called Richard came into my shop asking if I would be interested in taking out an advert.
“He showed me a previous advertising booklet called ‘It’s “THE” Business’ which looked authentic and had many other local businesses in it.
“I paid £155 for a full page advert which I was told was going to be published in July of 2012, but it didn’t happen. I went to their office but they had packed up and the Hotmail address has been closed too.”
Jacki contacted Trading Standards who told her that the man had committed a “fraudulent act”.
Companies House confirmed that Guardian Angels was “pending liquidation.”
She said: “Yes, it’s only £155 but it’s the principle, that’s what annoys me.
“People like that will now just start up another business, rip more people off and get away with it.”
Next door to Secret Wardrobe is Stefeny Frances Beauty who were also tricked. Stefeny said: “I paid for an advert to go in the October issue of the publication, so he took my money knowing that it wasn’t going to happen.”
“I’m resigned to not getting the money back, I just want to try and stop this happening to anyone else.”
Geoff Bates, service manager in enterprise, planning and protective services said, “If you do suspect a scam or think you may have lost money to one then telephone our partners at Citizens Advice on 08454 040506.”