A funeral director has condemned fraudsters who are using his business details to con parents buying toys for their children’s Christmas.
Paul Deans, who owns Fraserburgh Funeral Services, discovered that his business address and phone number had been used as part of the scam when he began to receive calls from disgruntled customers looking for their orders.
After contacting the police and Aberdeenshire Trading Standards, the 51-year-old was informed that he has been the victim of a potentially fake website – which is claiming the funeral home’s address on College Bounds as its own.
The website offers the latest toys at a discounted price, as well limited edition goods by brands such as Disney, Lego and Barbie.
‘It’s just been an absolute hell’
Mr Deans said those who called him had been “shocked” when they found out the nature of the business they were contacting.
He said: “To utilise a funeral director’s address up here in Fraserburgh is wrong to say the least.
“It’s just been an absolute hell.
“The first day I had around 11 calls and gradually I started getting more and more, so I contacted the police and Trading Standards but the website can’t be taken down until the investigation has concluded.
“I’m hoping that they will set this right, but at the moment I’m still having to suffer through all of the phone calls and explain every time that it’s a fake website and I’m a funeral director.”
Mr Deans reckons that he has received at least 65 to 70 calls in the last two weeks, and he is expecting the number to increase significantly with the holidays approaching.
He added: “The only way to describe it is disrespectful.
“But people who would do something like this for money are not interested in respect.
“My only concern is the longer it goes on, the more and more people will get all caught up with this thing.
“I’m trying to help the individuals as much as I can and give them advice, because it’s a shame that they are being put through that at this time of year.”
A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Trading Standards has confirmed that if the website is proved to be a scam, a request can be made to take it down from the internet.
One of the victims, Christopher Lynam, of Alderwasley in Derby, ordered a Barbie doll from the dodgy site for his youngest daughter for Christmas.
The father-of-two got suspicions after the confirmation email looked strange and did not confirm the item, or the amount spent.
After several online inquiries and a phone call to the funeral directors, Mr Lynam contacted his bank who said the website appeared to be a sham.’
‘I think they’re the lowest of the low’
“The thing is that the website really looks professional”, Mr Lynam said.
“I think about all the people who have bought things from the there and haven’t used a credit card to be able to dispute the transaction, so they’re just going to lose their money.
“Not a lot of people have money to just chuck away and replace things if it doesn’t work out, so I’m sure there are a lot of children out there who are either going to get fewer presents for Christmas or nothing at all.”
Mr Deans said that his frustration is towards the fraudsters, who are duping people in a vulnerable position.
He said: “I think they’re the lowest of the low.
“They’ve conned some hard-working individuals trying to get something for their children, their grandchildren and nephews.
“They should look in the mirror and think how they would feel if somebody did it to them – that’s what I’d say.”
Trading Standards team manager Aled Herbert added: “The website in this incident is a realistic-looking website, however a quick internet search flags up some concerns.
“If an Aberdeenshire resident feels that they have been scammed, or wants to report anything to Trading Standards, they can do so by reporting it through partners Consumeradvice.scot online or on 08081646000.”