OWNERS of an Indian restaurant in South Harrow are warning other businesses to be wary of online scams after they were targeted.
The restaurant owners, who wish to remain anonymous, received five emails from alleged directors of US and Spanish companies claiming they would like to book large tables and pay for them in advance.
All the emails were poorly written and littered with spelling and grammatical mistakes.
In the first one, sent from a gmail account on Sunday November 14, a table for 20 people was requested with the sender willing to pay £1,500 up front as a deposit.
Two days later, a second email stated the hotel they were staying in did not have ATM facilities, and they would therefore pay £5,000 via credit card and the restaurant could deduct £1,500 as payment and then refund the remaining £3,500 in cash.
Fearing it was a scam, the manager ignored the messages, but a third email was received under the same name on Friday, December 3, requesting a booking for 10 people for a £1,000 deposit.
The fraudsters then persisted with the scam, resending their original two emails, but this time claiming to be the director of another company.
The restaurant manager said: "Business e-crime is a big issue. As with most things, the answer lies in the application of common sense, and reporting such crime to your local police office. I would encourage businesses to report such fraud to the police so they can prevent it from happening to more businesses."
A Harrow police spokesperson said: "There are several scams circulating in many different guises at the moment aimed at both businesses and members of the public.
"Our advice is to be on your guard and use your common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
"If you are suspicious of any unsolicited call or email do not proceed with the transaction and report your concerns to police."